VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - On Wednesday morning, the third person police say who was connected to an alleged assault on a child was taken into custody.
Emmer Jean Thomas turned herself into law enforcement at Valdosta Police Department reference to an arrest warrant for felony cruelty to children in the first degree. Thomas was released to Lowndes County Jail for pending judicial proceedings.
Two Valdosta daycare employees were already facing charges for failing to report child abuse.
Police said that Thomas, a former employee, is accused of assaulting a 2-year-old.
Tickle Me Pink Daycare and Learning Center has been under an emergency closure since Monday.
A parent, who has been sending her children to Tickle Me Pink for more than three years, said one of the suspects and owner of the day care, Pamela Carter, had done so much for her children and she’s in shock.
Pamela and Brent Carter have both been charged with tampering with evidence and failure to report child abuse.
Pamela is also facing a charge of giving a false statement.
One of the day care parents, Felicia Kohler, said she never expected anything like this to happen.
“For me, when I found out, it was hard to believe that it was even true. Mrs. Pam is an inspiration,” said Kohler.
Kohler said she can’t believe any workers there would hurt any of the children.
“Mrs. Pamela did a lot for so many families, she definitely did a lot for my family. I’ve been homeless twice, I’ve been without a job and you know, they got me through that,” explained Kohler.
Kohler said all of her children have been going to Tickle Me Pink Daycare and Academy since she moved to Valdosta.
“We’re safe to say that this appears to be excessive discipline, we have no reason to believe that there was any other child involved, any other child that was subjected to the excessive discipline,” said Cmdr. Bobbi McGraw with the Valdosta Police Department.
McGraw said they will continue to investigate and determine whether this was discipline or physical abuse.
“The age of the child, really what rules the day care has in place for any types of discipline and reporting, if they reported it timely, if there was any delay in reporting the incident, how it comes about to us. It’s just a whole bunch of different facts brought together, it’s just pieces of the case,” explained McGraw.
Kohler said now that the day care is closed, she’s not sure what’s next for her daughter.
“You know, I really don’t know where she’s gonna go,” said Kohler.
The day care has 48 hours since the emergency closure to appeal it.
An arrest warrant is out for the person police said physically assaulted the child and they said she’s expected to cooperate and turn herself in.