On Friday, January Neatherlin received her sentence for using melatonin to drug the children in her care so she could leave them unsupervised while she went tanning and hit the gym. Over the course of her trial, nearly a dozen parents testified against Neatherlin, including one that said her child suffered a brain injury while in her care.
Neatherlin, 32, was the owner of Little Giggles Daycare in Bend, Oregon. She was arrested in March 2017 after local law enforcement discovered that she had left seven children, ages six months to four years old, alone in the facility after using melatonin to drug them.
After the children fell asleep, Neatherlin would leave them unsupervised while she went to the gym and tanning.
The daycare center itself, located in her home, was also deemed illegal.
“She repeatedly administered a sleeping agent to a room full of infants, toddlers, and children,” said one of the parents, “and drove off in her car to fulfill her narcissistic needs.”
“There is no room in our society for monsters like this,” the parent continued. “January has no respect for human life.”
Neatherlin read a statement during her sentencing, apologizing for her actions and asking for forgiveness.
“Everybody makes mistakes, but not everyone takes responsibility for those mistakes,” said Neatherlin, according to a report by the Daily Mail. “With that said, I hope the court and the parents accept my apology.”
“I made a very poor class, and it has forever changed my life and even ended it,” said Neatherlin through her tears.
In February, Neatherlin pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including 12 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault.
The court sentenced her to 31 months for each count of first-degree criminal mistreatment, bringing the total of her prison sentence to 21 years and four months.
Prosecutors had originally recommended a sentence of 35 years.
Police had initially received a tip that led them to set up surveillance outside of Neatherlin’s home. They observed parents bringing their children to the facility and then saw Neatherlin leave a few hours later.
Fearing for the safety of the children, local law enforcement entered the home and found the children unattended, as well as evidence that they had been forcibly given melatonin.
One of the younger children was found lying in a pool of his own vomit on a padded “toy couch.”