Unlicensed daycare operator abuses one of the children under her care: Cops

Mississippi police arrested an unlicensed daycare operator on Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse, as reported by the Hattiesburg American.

Melanie Barnett, 44, reportedly faces a charge of aggravated child abuse, though details remain scant, including the identity of the victim or victims and the nature of the abuse.

Investigators also alleged that Barnett was operating an unlicensed daycare center out of her home, with Forrest County investigator John Tryner telling reporters that it was not an official business.

“She wasn’t licensed as a daycare provider — she was just keeping kids at her home,” he said. “It was not a business. It was just her house.”

The Forrest County Sheriff’s Department added that specific complaints of child abuse were levied against the suspect and, after an investigation, officers felt they had probable cause to take her into custody.

“We received some allegations from one of the parents of a child she had kept,” Tryner said. “We felt there was enough probable cause to get a warrant for her arrest.”

Barnett is set to make an initial appearance in front of a judge on Friday, when a bond is expected to be set, as reported by WDAM. It is unknown if Barnett has obtained legal counsel.

This investigation is ongoing. It is unclear if Barnett will also face charges for operating an unlicensed daycare center out of her home.

[Featured Image: Forrest County Sheriff’s Department]