Daycare closed after child found badly injured

Daycare closed after child found badly injured
Copyright 2019 KXLY.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.

On February 24, Officers and Detectives from the Ponderay Police Department responded to the 400 block of Schweitzer Plaza drive for a report of an unresponsive six-month-old child.

Immediate investigation revealed the infant had been injured while being cared for at Little Fit Day Care inside of the Bonner Mall in Ponderay.

At this time, authorities can confirm that as of March 5, the facility’s license has been suspended by the State of Idaho and that the facility has been closed.

Day care owner Dennis McLeish III disputes much of what Idaho child care officials are accusing his business of. He said the 6-month-old never lost consciousness and was being supervised according to state standards.

McLeish said the infant was in a room with five other children — four of them were under the age of 2, one was under the age of 3. McLeish said he left the children in a room and the door wide open as he helped a family check in.

“Me and those two adults were as close as 5 feet from that door and none us us heard that baby cry out,” McLeish said. “The two babies that attacked the other baby, they were under the age of two.”

Day care security cameras recorded the attack.

“It literally looked like they were possessed,” McLeish said. “They started biting him over and over and over, hitting him with stuff and hurting him.”

McLeish realized the infant was injured as soon as he checked on him.

“I went over, picked him up, turned him over and his face and his hand were covered in blood. I panicked. It was horrific.”

The infant was hospitalized. Ponderay Police tell KXLY the baby is expected to recover.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare ordered a temporary suspension and Idaho child care officials terminated Little Fit Day Care’s contract.

ICCP said McLeish never reported the abuse to the Department of Health and Welfare. McLeish plans to appeal their decision. In the meantime, he’s getting hate on social media.

“The horrible things that they’ve said about me, my staff and my business. They don’t understand that the day care going out of business isn’t a good thing — it hurts our community. We don’t have enough day cares here.”

McLeish said he has no plans to re-open the center which serves low-income families.

This is an on-going investigation and is currently being reviewed by the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office. The reports in this matter are currently not available as Public Record.

Updates will be released as they are available.

Catch up on the day’s news and look ahead to tomorrow by signing up for the Daily Local email newsletter from KXLY4. Headlines, events, and staff picks every weeknight at 8 p.m. Sign up HERE to get your news on the D.L.