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Athens (KLTV)

Child Care Worker Allegedly Bites 17-Month-Old Child

"I was leery of leaving him with anybody, and now he gets hurt.  It's scary and it hurts."

Lindsey Reynolds went to pick up her 17-month-old son, Wyatt, from day care as she normally does.

But Monday, she said something was wrong.

"I walked into the room and he's standing there screaming."  She said Bonita Stout was holding his other arm.   Reynolds said she asked why her son was crying.  Stout told her he'd bitten another child.  

"And I said, so why is he crying, and she said, because I bit him."

Reynolds said she could not believe what she heard.  She called Athens Police.  An officer came out and saw the bite mark on her son's right arm for himself.

They arrested Bonita Stout, 54, on-site.  She is now facing third-degree felony charges for injury to a child.

"My immediate response was to terminate the employee," said Misti Ewald. 

Ewald owns Apple Tree Academy, but was not present during the alleged incident. She said Stout was employed at the facility for about a year. Ewald said she signed the same discipline policy every staff member signs.  She said she violated that policy.

"We love Wyatt," she said.  "We love all of our kids, so it makes it very difficult."

Ewald said Stout also passed a background check required by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which inspects daycare centers.  The most recent report from June of this year from that agency noted some minor violations, which were corrected during the inspection. A report from February does show one employee who needed a background check at the time of the inspection, but that violation was also later corrected.

"[Stout] is like a grandmother to all the kids, as well as a mother to all of the staff," Ewald said.  She said she hates that it happened.

Reynolds said the damage is already done.  "I'm mad that I trusted them to watch my child and keep him safe.  They let me down."

Ms. Stout declined to speak with us about this incident.  She was released from Henderson County Jail early Tuesday afternoon on a $25,000 bond.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.

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