(WESTERVILLE, Ohio) — An Ohio day care worker who police say sprinkled drugs in children’s snacks to make them fall asleep has denied dispensing any medication without parental approval.
“I simply wouldn’t do it. I didn’t do it,” Tammy Eppley told ABC News on Tuesday. “Anytime I gave the children any medication, I had permission from the parent.”
Eppley, 37, was charged in Franklin County Municipal Court Monday with six counts of child endangerment after the mother of three allegedly used Melatonin and Benadryl to drug the children for whom she cared, including her own 2-year-old daughter.
Eppley ran the Caterpillar Clubhouse day care out of her Westerville home, where she cared for six children, ranging in ages from 2 to 5 years old, officials said.
Police say they have a series of text messages, videos and voice recordings Eppley sent to a former friend apparently bragging about mixing the substances into “snacks for the children in order to get them to sleep during the day.”
In one text, Eppley allegedly said a child remarked the “sprinkles on some cupcakes tasted funny.”
Eppley denies the allegations, claiming the text messages and videos were taken out of context and a former friend is out to get her.
“I made jokes about it. Very off-color jokes that I regret, but I never said I did in fact do that and she knew that,” Eppley said. “This person knew exactly how to hurt me most.”
Franklin County Children Services concluded an investigation last month that resulted in no action against Eppley, calling the evidence against her “unsubstantiated.”
The police believe otherwise, however.
“We thought that there was enough probable cause to charge her with this, and we’re pretty positive that she did this,” Westerville Lt. Paul Scowden said.
Eppley did not require a day care license because she was caring for six children at her home, according to Ohio state law. Seven or more children require a state license.
Eppley says she can’t find a lawyer and has lost her day care business after the charges were levied against her.
“The hardest part has been watching my kids suffer for it. Obviously, losing kids that I fell in love with,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I’m a good person. I’m not a mug shot.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jeff Peterson, Deseret News
Rene Marsh and David Gracey, CNN