RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA) — Two employees of a Rancho Cucamonga childcare facility have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse in the death of an 8-month-old baby.
Rudie Megan Maldonado, 29, of San Bernardino, was arrested Wednesday, while 50-year-old Felicia Ann Ferra of Yorba Linda was taken into custody Thursday, according to San Bernardino County sheriff’s jail records. Both women have been freed on bail, and a court date has not yet been scheduled for them.
The two were arrested following an investigation into the injury of an eight-month-old baby boy who was admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on Sept. 4, 2021 with a skull fracture. A report from a person close to the situation informed CBS that the baby was recovering.
The baby boy had attended the Kiddie Academy, 7220 Victoria Park Lane, in Rancho Cucamonga. Authorities say investigators determined the two women had conspired to conceal the boy’s injuries and neglect of his well-being.
Investigators believe there may be more victims who may have been abused, so authorities have released Maldonado’s and Ferra’s booking photos.
Several parents, who spoke with CBS reporters off camera, admitted that they are somewhat unsurprised by the disturbing news. Many of those same parents have taken their children out of the daycare after witnessing questionable acts, including a teacher pulling a little girl around the classroom by her leg. The person who witnessed this incident was afraid to report it, due to their undocumented immigrant status.
Another mother reported that her child appeared frightened every time they arrived, detailing that she was often left alone in a room with the 24 other children in the daycare, with no teacher in sight – or even assigned to supervise them. The same mother also noted that on several instances she saw babies lying unattended on the floor, with no pillows, blankets or cushions in the vicinity, and one of the babies was also lying in front of a door.
In response to the incident, Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising released a statement that said:
“We are aware of the serious allegations against an assistant teacher and the director of Kiddie Academy in Rancho Cucamonga. We are committed to working with the franchise owners to ensure full cooperation with local authorities. As an organization, there is nothing more important than creating environments where a child’s intellectual, emotional and physical development flourishes. We remain committed to ensuring all franchisees maintain world-class standard.”
Anyone with information about the investigation can contact Deputy Roger Alfaro at (909) 387-3615.