NH daycare workers sprinkled melatonin in children’s food unbeknownst to parents, police say

MANCHESTER, NH — The owner and three workers at a New Hampshire daycare are facing charges after allegedly sprinkling melatonin into the children’s food without parent permission, police say.

Sally Dreckmann, 52, Traci Innie, 51, Kaitlin Filardo, 23, and Jessica Foster, 23, were all charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child after turning themselves in to authorities, Manchester police said Thursday.

“If it was my child I’d be extremely upset,” said Gary Boucher, who lives near the at-home daycare. “Obviously they’re doing that to knock the kids out, but that’s something that shouldn’t be done at all period.”

The four daycare workers were arrested following a lengthy investigation after police detectives received a report of unsafe practices at the in-home daycare at 316 Armory Street in November 2023.

Police say parents were not asked or told that the workers were sprinkling melatonin into their children’s food.

“Not having got permission from the parents, not knowing the medical history or the reaction that this child could have, having this in their system, it’s concerning, I mean it could be an allergic reaction, it could be much worse,” said Heather Hamel, public information officer at the Manchester Police Department.

According to Boston Children’s Hospital, children under the age of three should never take melatonin, and if they ingest too much, they can experience drowsiness, vomiting and headaches.

“I had no idea though you don’t see kids coming in and out of that house,” said Gwyneth Clarkson, who lives nearby.

Neighbors were surprised to learn there was even a daycare operating out of this home on Amory Street, and now they question whether it can stay open.

“If the police officially charged them, the state or the city should be shutting them down right off the bat until they clear it,” said Boucher.

Boston 25 News reached out to New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services to see whether this daycare will be shut down, but they have not responded.

The four daycare workers will be arraigned at a later date.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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