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Former Mississippi daycare employees who scared children charged over viral videos

Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 20, 2022

Authorities in Mississippi announced Thursday that five former daycare workers were charged with child abuse following a now-viral video that showed them scaring children while wearing a scary mask.

In the video, an unidentified employee at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center in Hamilton is seen wearing a Halloween mask, similar to the one worn in the movie "Scream," yelling at children who didn’t “clean up” or “act good," the Associated Press reported.

In a press release, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office announced that Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman, and Shyenne Shelton were each charged with three counts of felony child abuse on Wednesday.

Traci Hutson was charged with failing to report abuse and simple assault against a minor, the sheriff's office announced.

Sheila Sanders, the business owner, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that two videos were filmed, one in September and another on Oct. 4.

She added that she fired them after becoming aware of the videos, which she learned about on Oct. 5, the news outlet reported.

On Monday, the sheriff's office said they, alongside the prosecutor and the district attorney's office, met with the parents of the children involved in the incident to let them know they could file charges if they wanted to.

On Tuesday, the sheriff's office said that at least one set of parents filed felony child abuse charges.

By Wednesday, warrants were issued by a judge on charges filed against the five women by multiple parents on behalf of their children, the sheriff's office said.

The department said that the former daycare workers were in custody within two hours of those warrants being issued.

According to the news release, McCandless, Kilburn, Newman, and Mills made their initial appearance in front of Justice Court Judge Sarah Stevens on Thursday.

The sheriff's office said that bonds for McCandless and Kilburn were set at $20,000 each and for Newman and Mills at $15,000 each.