Skip to main content

Police: Ohio day-care operator drugged pancakes to make children sleep

By Steve Almasy, CNN
June 19, 2013 -- Updated 1109 GMT (1909 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tammy Eppley says she is mortified by the charges
  • She says any text she sent about sedating a child was just her venting
  • She has been charged with six counts of child endangerment
  • None of the children were injured or made ill

(CNN) -- Getting children to take a nap can be hard. Getting them to eat pancakes is not nearly as difficult.

Police in Westerville, Ohio, say a 37-year-old mother operating a day care out of her home hit upon a plan -- she allegedly crushed medications that cause drowsiness and put them in the pancakes.

Tammy Eppley has been charged with six counts of child endangerment. Her first court date is July 12.

Eppley, who runs the Caterpillar Clubhouse, cared for six children -- including one of her own -- between the ages of 2 and 5, police said.

"This is mortifying. I'm a very private person and I'm very protective of my children and the children in my care," she said.

Investigators believe she used medications such as the allergy medicine Benadryl and supplements like melatonin to get the children to go to sleep, according to a statement from the Westerville Police.

She would say something to the effect of "I just gave them their nappy time medicine," Lt. Paul Scowden told CNN affiliate WCMH.

None of the children suffered any illness or injury related to the alleged drugging incident.

A former friend reported her to child protective services after she received a series of text messages from Eppley joking about sedating the kids.

Eppley has denied the charges, claiming she was just venting in the texts.

"It was just any frustrated parent that would say when they were frustrated," she said. "The kids are driving me crazy today, they're off the wall. I wish there was a drug like in sleeping beauty they would all just go to sleep."

She said she had given medications in the past, but only with parental permission.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT