January Neatherlin has been sentenced to 21 years for drugging children at her illegal daycare, Little Giggles, so she could go to the gym and tan.
We’ll take a look at Neatherlin’s background, from her early years to her criminal charges both before and after opening a daycare center.
Facts to Know about January Neatherlin & Little Giggles Daycare Center
January Irene Neatherlin, 32 years old, was the owner/operator of the Little Giggles daycare. But before she ran the illegal daycare center, Neatherlin had other issues with the law.
January Neatherlin was caught on felony identity theft convictions under the names January Livsey and January Brooks in 2007. She was also charged with theft around the same period. In one particular case, she bought a trampoline and attempted to return an old rusted trampoline in its place.
A few years later, in 2010, Neatherlin opened Little Giggles daycare.
A Foundation of Lies
Unbeknownst to her various clients, Neatherlin’s Little Giggles daycare was built upon numerous lies. It was ran by someone who, on the outside, seemed to be caring for the children. But when parents’ cars pulled away, the caring appeared to stop.
While Little Giggles was initially set up as a legitimate business in 2010, by 2012, Neatherlin’s business license lapsed. That didn’t stop her from continuing to take on clients.
In 2014, Neatherlin’s lapsed business license almost caught up to her. She was found to be caring for more children than was allowed without a license. There were no official charges and Neatherlin was told to reduce the number of children that she cared for. Again, it doesn’t appear as though that occurred.
Meanwhile, Neatherlin lied to her clients. She told them about false qualifications and skills, like telling one mother that she was a trained nurse. To some new clients, she would give a false name.
The lies spread into the actual care of the children. When she scalded a child in her care with heated milk put into the girl’s mouth and dripped on her shoulder, she told the parents that the injuries were spider bites. Neatherlin also told one mother that her child would be the only one in her care. Again, a lie.
Eventually, police and other officials were tipped off that Little Giggles was definitely not what it appeared.
Collapse of Little Giggles
Neatherlin’s schemes began to fall apart when an ex-boyfriend and a former roommate reported to police in Bend, Oregon about what exactly was going on at Little Giggles. With that, police began to surveil the daycare center.
Bend police trailed Neatherlin from March 3 to March 15, 2017, noting her activities. During that period, Neatherlin left the house eight separate times when children were under her care.
One particular day, Neatherlin left the home daycare twice during the day. The first occasion appeared to be Neatherlin taking her own two children to school in the morning. The second trip, she went to a tanning spot called Tan Republic. This is while she was supposed to be looking after seven children.
Police dug deeper, discovering that Neatherlin told parents that they couldn’t pick up or drop off their kids between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. While Neatherlin referred to it as “nap time,” it was during that time that she hit the gym and the tanning salon, leaving the kids on their own.
A Large Number of Charges
When police swept in and arrested Neatherlin, what they found was terrible. The children were drugged with melatonin. While not illegal, the control of melatonin is regulated. Neatherlin used it to put the children to sleep while she was out. One of the children was found to be damp, covered in vomit.
Neatherlin was arrested and the charges came in fast and furious. Some of the abuse and neglect charges stemmed from earlier incidents that parents came forward with. Like one child who suffered bleeding on the brain consistent with being shaken or beaten.
In all, Neatherlin initially faced 122 charges relating to child abuse, child neglect, and other connected charges. Eventually, knowing that she was looking at serious prison time, Neatherlin made a plea bargain with the prosecution.
The Plea Bargaining and Sentencing
As part of her plea deal, Neatherlin agreed to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, and one count of third-degree assault. While this is not 122 charges, the counts did carry some weight to them.
Prosecutors asked that Neatherlin be sentenced to 35 years in prison. When the sentence was finally handed down, she looked to be spending 21 years and four months in prison.
January Neatherlin spoke to her victims in court on the day of her sentencing.
“I let all of you down that trusted me, and no one is at fault but me,” she said. “I know you may never forgive me, but I ask you consider it.”
For the many victims who sat in court, Neatherlin’s words seemed to ring hollow. Judge Ashby told Neatherlin when handing down the sentence that he hoped she would be able to repair whatever issues she had that had caused her to do this in the first place.
“There is something broke and something missing in you. I don’t say that to be mean to you — simply a gap there. It is the court’s hope you can make yourself whole again.”