3 charged after kids given gummy bears with melatonin at Des Plaines day care, police say

News 41


Three teachers have been arrested at a suburban Chicago day care center after allegedly giving a class of toddlers gummy bears with melatonin to calm them down for nap time.

Authorities were called to the Kiddie Junction Daycare Center in Des Plaines on Friday afternoon for has been described as a ‘suspicious incident’.

Three teachers admitted to distributing gummy bears with melatonin to 12 children aged between two and three-years-old.


Ashley Helfenbein, 25, left, of Chicago and Jessica Heyse, 19, of Des Plaines were each charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery

Kristen Lauletta, 32, of Niles, said she did not the melatonin g gummies were inappropriate because it was an over-the-counter sleep aid

Kristen Lauletta, 32, of Niles, said she did not the melatonin g gummies were inappropriate because it was an over-the-counter sleep aid

The use of the substance had not been approved by parents.

‘Allegedly, this was done in an effort to calm the kids down before nap time,’ a release from Des Plaines police read.

The teachers each told authorities they didn’t think giving the children melatonin-laced gummy bears was inappropriate because it is available over-the-counter.

Parents with children attending the day care were contacted and told what happened, according to authorities.

Kristen Lauletta, 32, of Niles; Jessica Heyse, 19, of Des Plaines; and Ashley Helfenbein, 25, of Chicago, have each been charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery.

The three teachers were found out after a fellow employee of the daycare called police with concerns about their co-workers’ actions.

It is unclear how long the children had been given the gummies, but it appears none were harmed.

The three teachers were found out after a fellow employee of the daycare called police with concerns about their co-workers’ actions

The three teachers were found out after a fellow employee of the daycare called police with concerns about their co-workers’ actions

‘We spoke with every single parent that had a child in the day care, and only one could recall their child being groggy after being picked up,’ Police Cmdr. Christopher Mierzwa said.

Police have said that additional charges are still possible and the Department of Children and Family Services will also conduct an investigation.

All three are expected to appear in court in Skokie, Illinois next month.

Kiddie Junction did not immediately respond to a request for comment.




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