UPDATE: Parents react after former daycare worker charged with aggravated child abuse
UPDATE: A former Chattanooga daycare worker is facing criminal charges after being caught on camera slamming a toddler down on a sleeping cot.
The child’s mother tells Channel 3 she didn't know what had happened when she picked her son up from daycare that day, and she still has not seen the video showing the alleged abuse. Now, she is demanding answers.
"To think they told me he had a great day and allowed me to take my child home,” Tamara Fowlkes recalled. “The whole situation, everything about it, is wrong."
Reports show Fowlkes one-year-old son, Elijah, was picked up by his arm, carried to a cot, and slammed down so hard his head bounced up.
She said Elijah has delayed speech, and she didn't know what happened until an hour after she picked her son up from First Step Daycare on April 19th.
"At the time that I brought him home, he was so agitated, and I couldn't figure out what was going on," Fowlkes recalled.
Former daycare worker, 27-year-old Aukeera Tellis, is charged with 2 counts of aggravated child abuse. Tellis had been at the daycare about a year, according to the co-owner, and had no prior issues.
The alleged abuse was all caught on security cameras at the facility.
It is video Fowlkes wants to see.
"You have parents like me that just want to work and know that your child is going to be safe while you are working. That's all I wanted," Fowlkes urged.
Channel 3 also asked to see the video. The co-owner of the daycare did not want to go on camera but claims she can't release the video because it “violates HIPPA laws,” which protects medical information.
She also said the daycare followed policy by terminating the worker, calling the Department of Human Services, Department of Children's Services and police.
Fowlkes said she quit her job so she doesn't have to send Elijah back to daycare.
"He has to be traumatized in some type of way!" Fowlkes said about her son.
She said even though her son can't speak for himself, she will continue to fight for him.
"I'm going to speak up for my child,” Fowlkes urged. “I'll be his mouthpiece."
Fowlkes said her son is doing OK. She said he will not be going back to any childcare facility.
Aukeera Tellis is set to go before a judge Wednesday.
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According to the arrest affidavit, 27-year-old Aukeera N. Tellis abused two children at the First Step Daycare on North Chamberlain Avenue on April 19, 2018.
On the April 19, Chattanooga Police responded to a child abuse call at the daycare. The owner of the child care facility told Chattanooga Police officers that she watched Tellis grab one of the children by the arm in a violent manner.
Members of the CPD's Special Victim's Unit were assigned to investigate this case.
Surveillance cameras recorded the incident. The footage showed Tellis grab the victim by on arm in an aggressive manner and held the child in the air. Then Tellis slammed the child down on a sleeping cot so hard that the child's head hit the cot and bounced back up.
On April 24, officers responded to a delayed child abuse call that had occurred at the daycare on April 19. The mother of the second victim told the officer she had been contacted by investigators about her child being assaulted.
Members of the Special Victim's Unit also investigated this assault. They met with the co-owner of First Step Daycare who said she had video footage of the incident.
The operation manager at the daycare told investigators she saw Tellis hit the child. She said she watched Tellis hit the victim so hard on his backside that the child was knocked to the floor. She described that Tellis grabbed the child by one arm and pulled the child up from the floor. She added that Tellis slammed the child down on a sleeping cot. The manager said she called the Child Abuse Hotline to report the incident.
The investigator said surveillance video showed Tellis hitting the child and knocking the child to the floor. It also showed her aggressively snatching the child off the floor and carrying the child in the air by one arm. Tellis then went out of view.
Tellis has been fired from her job.
She was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse. She is currently in the Hamilton County Jail, and her bond is set at $30,000.