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Jun 18, 2013 1:01 PM by NBC News

Home daycare operator accused of drugging children with spiked pancakes

(WCMH) A Westerville, Ohio woman is facing six counts of endangering children after she allegedly drugged children at a child care center operated out of her home.

Tammy Elaine Eppley, 37, is accused of crushing medications and supplements, including melatonin and an antihistamine, used for the purpose of causing drowsiness, and mixing it into prepared food for the children at her childcare center, Caterpillar Clubhouse.

Detectives say Eppley allegedly mixed Benadryl and melatonin into pancake batter and cooked it for the children.

Eppley was caring for a total of six children, including her 2-year-old child, at her childcare center.

Detectives say their investigation began on April 11 after a friend of Eppley's called Franklin County Children Services to report her for giving the children over the counter antihistamine and melatonin.

It is alleged that Eppley was mixing the drugs with the children's food between February 14 and April 11, according to police.

A Westerville detective tells NBC4 Eppley told investigators that the parents of five of the children had given her permission to use the over the counter medications. The parents of all five children deny Eppley's claim.

Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, Henry Spiller, tells NBC4 the mixture of drugs Eppley allegedly gave to the children could cause drowsiness and even restrict a child's breathing.

"These children could have pre-existing medical conditions, where this could have affected [them]. They could have been on other medications. The parents could've been given them other allergy medications," said Spiller.

None of the children in the daycare sustained injuries or illness, according to detectives.

Eppley was arrested at her Westerville home in the 80 block of Fairdale Avenue.

Eppley had not registered her daycare center with the City of Westerville as required by the zoning department, according to police.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family services says Eppley was not required to have a state license to run a daycare because she only cared for six children.



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