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Daycare Worker Arrested After Being Caught On Video Abusing Kids, Police Say
McKenzie Howell, 19, is accused of dropping a child who then hit his head against a wall, and pulling a young girl's ankles out from under her.
An Arkansas daycare worker was arrested after surveillance video shows her aggressively handling the young children in her care.
McKenzie Howell, 19, was charged with two felony counts of endangering the welfare of a minor after police received a report of possible child abuse at Kid's Academy Daycare in Arkansas.
Bryant Police Department spokesman Sgt. Todd Crowson told Oxygen.com the abuse caught on video was hard to watch at times and involved two separate children who were 2 years old or younger.
It occurred just before lunch time as the young children were sitting up against a wall waiting for the lunch to be served by another daycare worker.
Crowson said the video showed Howell going over to a small girl and scolding her.
"She grabbed her real hard and put her up against the wall again and when she did the little girl started crying," he said, adding that the young girl grabbed her right shoulder in pain.
Howell could then be seen grabbing the same girl by the wrist, pulling her off the floor and setting her back down again. After briefly walking away, she returned yanking the girl up "really hard" to scold her in a corner, police said.
Crowson said the little girl was "still holding her arm and obviously upset" at the time. A short time later, the young girl had returned to her spot at the wall when police say Howell returned and grabbed the girl by her ankles, yanking her away from the wall and causing her head to fall back and hit the hard tile floor.
"This was the part that was really hard to watch," Crowson said.
A second child, a young boy, was involved shortly after the initial incident when the children were sitting down at small tables to prepare for their lunch.
"She grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him up and walked over and just dropped him to the floor by his chair and he literally just missed the chair and hit the floor and the wall," Crowson said.
The video, which was obtained by KATV, does not include any audio, however "what the video appeared to show was that the kids were being very good" at the time of the events, Crowson told Oxygen.com.
He described Howell as appearing to be " agitated the entire time."
Howell, who is no longer employed at the daycare center, had worked there about a year before the incident.
Police began their investigation after receiving a report of possible child abuse from the mother of the young boy, who also worked at the daycare center. The mother had initially contacted the Child Abuse Hotline about the potential abuse after reviewing the surveillance video, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The hotline then directed her to police.
Another coworker was also concerned after seeing the incident and notified her boss, Kid's Academy manager Paula Lee, the paper reported. Lee said she contacted her supervisor after viewing the footage.
Howell turned herself into police Monday morning and was transported to the Saline County Detention Facility.
"After investigators spoke with witnesses and reviewed the Daycare security cameras, there was clearly enough evidence to obtain a warrant for Howell's arrest," a statement from police said.
[Photo: Bryant Police Department]