TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The mother of a child at the center of a Daycare abuse investigation says more regulation is needed to protect children.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office arrested two women in connection with the case.
The Sherriff’s office initially arrested Rong Liu, the owner of Children’s Land of Imagination Academy in Odessa for abuse. After reviewing security video and interviewing parents the sheriff’s office arrested Tara Ballou for abuse.
Video released by the sheriff’s office showed Ballou aggressively handle a small child and use her left leg to hold the child down for a nap.
Kelly Autrey’s son attended the daycare and she could not believe what the security camera video showed.
“It was absolutely appalling,” Autrey said. “I had details of what happened previous to this because my son was involved originally, so I’ve been working with detectives. I’ve had other moms call me and talk to me, so we kind of knew the gist of what we were going to see.”
Autrey said she believes her son was physically abused on several occasions at the daycare. She showed photos that revealed bruises on her son’s legs.
“His bruises are fingerprints, they can easily be identified as fingerprints,” Autrey said.
Autrey said this same daycare was investigated in 2019 for similar charges of abuse, but she had no way to know that. She added that she believes new regulations are needed to protect children.
“Nobody really knew about it and they only put the records from the inspections for daycares two years back,” Autrey said. “They don’t have anything further. You can go into the licensing office to get those but you don’t have access to them online. Had I seen that they were investigated for abuse back in 2019 and that was something available to me. I would have never sent my child there.”
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation into abuse at the daycare is ongoing.