January Neatherlin, jailed since March on charges she abandoned children at her illegal day care center in Bend to visit a tanning salon, tried to convince three inmates to confess to the crimes, offering one $50,000, according to newly released court documents.
Neatherlin was described in the court papers as “intimidating and forceful when trying to convince others to pretend to be her babysitters.”
The new documents provide a firsthand account by one of the detectives who discovered the children who were allegedly given melatonin. One of the unattended infants had vomited on himself.
Bend Police are recommending additional charges against Neatherlin after her attempts to involve the other inmates, who, like Neatherlin, are being held at the Deschutes County Jail.
District Attorney John Hummel would not say if he is considering the new charges. “I’m not going to be talking about the new allegations,” he said. “I’m aware of them. We are investigating them. I won’t be discussing that publicly.”
Neatherlin, 32, was arrested March 15 after police found seven children younger than 5 drugged and unattended at her Little Giggles Daycare while she was at a tanning salon.
Neatherlin, who has several felony identity-theft convictions under the names January Livsey and January Brooks, was indicted on 122 charges of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree criminal mistreatment and recklessly endangering another person.
The court documents reveal new details about Neatherlin’s alleged activities.
In October, Neatherlin asked inmate Jacquelyn Capasso to say she was babysitting the children at the day care center while Neatherlin was out of the house. Neatherlin reportedly gave Capasso a list of details for her to memorize and relay to police, the documents state.
Capasso told jail staff about the interaction and handed over a letter she spotted in an outgoing mailbox that she alleges was written by Neatherlin posing as Capasso. The letter, written from Capasso’s perspective, said she was a babysitter for Neatherlin for four years and was at the house the day of Neatherlin’s arrest.
In April, Neatherlin asked another inmate, Carol Foreman, to pretend to be a babysitter at Little Giggles Daycare, the court documents state. Neatherlin allegedly told Foreman that she had a babysitter watching the children the day she was arrested. Neatherlin told a similar story in an April jail call that was recorded, saying she had a 17-year-old babysitter named Mason watching the children the day of her arrest, the court documents state. She said the babysitter fled out the back door when police arrived.
The third inmate allegedly approached by Neatherlin was Misty Carrol. According to the court documents, Foreman told police Neatherlin offered Carrol $50,000 to say she was a babysitter at the day care center. Neatherlin claimed to have money in an offshore account, according to Foreman.
Neatherlin could face additional charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment and recklessly endangering another person for trying to implicate three inmates in jail.
Neatherlin was arrested March 15, after a lengthy investigation. Bend Police and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office had reports of her neglecting children from 2015.
The new court records note an FBI agent contacted Bend Police in February to report that Neatherlin’s former boyfriend and a former roommate each had information. It’s common for the FBI to share any information they have with local police, according to Bend Police.
The former roommate, Tyler Brown, collected evidence while living with Neatherlin at a home on Clairaway Avenue in southeast Bend that she used as a day care center. When Brown moved out in February, he filmed two children left unattended at the house, the court documents state.
Police set up surveillance on Neatherlin and watched her come and go from a new residence on Blue Bush Court in northeast Bend.
On March 15, the day of her arrest, officers watched as parents dropped their children off in the morning at the Blue Bush Court residence.
Officers then followed Neatherlin as she left the house to drop off her son at Tumalo Elementary School and later to go to a Tan Republic salon in north Bend, according to court records.
Court records also describe what officers discovered when they entered the unattended house: a 6-month-old child, a 10-month child, a 21-month-old child, three children 2 1⁄2 years old and one child who was 4, all found in an upstairs bedroom.
“All children appeared drowsy but were able to wake up when we touched their shoulders,” Bend Police detective Chris Morin wrote in a report included in the court papers.
One of the infants was sleeping in a padded “toy couch” and looked fearful when Morin approached. Morin noticed the child had a “dried milk colored substance on the front of his chin that ran down his neck.” The child had vomited on himself, and it soaked into the small couch, Morin concluded.
Nobody other than the seven children and two dogs in the garage were inside the house when police arrived, according to court records.
Police interviewed Neatherlin’s former roommate again on March 15. Brown said Neatherlin would crush melatonin pills and put them in the food for the children before she left the house.
“I was wondering what she was doing crushing up pills,” Brown told them.
Another Bend detective later interviewed the parents of one of the children in the house, according to court documents. The parents said they found an ad for child care on Craigslist and used Neatherlin’s service full time, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. They paid her $800 a month.
Neatherlin remains in custody on $750,000 bail. Attempts to reach her newly appointed attorney, Angela Therese Lee-Mandlin, were unsuccessful.
Neatherlin is scheduled for trial in April.
— Reporter: 541-617-7820, firstname.lastname@example.org