Englewood mom fears charges will be dropped against former day care worker caught dragging child

Sarasota County

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Venice day care worker accused of manhandling kids in her care could be off the hook.

Surveillance video released in early February of this year appeared to show Jamie Smithmyer, a teacher at Manasota Beach Early Learning Center, dragging a toddler in her care. Investigators said at least three toddlers were handled aggressively.

Smithmyer was terminated, arrested and charged with three counts of felony child abuse.

Court records show two of Smithmyer’s three counts were dropped earlier this summer.

Amy Jones, the mother of the 2-year-old girl seen dragged in the surveillance video, says prosecutors have recently warned her the surveillance video alone might not be enough and the remaining charge is in jeopardy of being dropped as well.

“She was basically caught red-handed and it just blows my mind that that’s not enough,” Smithmyer said.

8 On Your Side asked prosecutor Bart Stoddard Tuesday if Smithmyer’s case at was risk of being dropped. Stoddard said he could not comment on any open cases.

Jones is a working mother who has found a new daycare for her daughter. She’s able to now keep tabs on her daughter at daycare by pulling up video monitors on a smartphone app. After seeing the dragging video, which she called “terrifying,” it helps keep her at ease.

“A teacher starts walking toward her and I immediately get that anxiety,” Jones explained. “Like, oh my god, here we go again.”

Jones firmly believes the video speaks for itself, and fears that if Smithmyer walks away without consequences, that her daughter has been robbed of justice.

“I don’t even know what to say to somebody who thinks it’s okay to put hands on a child,” she said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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