“The time lost with my 14-month-old child, who would come home exhausted and nearly unresponsive, is particularly heartbreaking,” one mother tells Inside Edition Digital. She says that she even took her daughter to the doctor because of her exhaustion.
A former daycare director will serve six months in prison after admitting that she gave toddlers melatonin to sleep without the consent of their parents.
Tonya Voris, 53, entered a guilty plea to 11 felony counts of neglect of a dependent and six misdemeanor counts of reckless supervision by a childcare provider as part of a deal with prosecutors.
A judge sentenced her to two years on the neglect charges and six months for reckless supervision, but as part her plea, 18 months were suspended from that neglect sentence and the reckless supervision sentence will run concurrent.
Voris will also serve 18 months probation, according to court records.
“The discovery that my children were given melatonin without my knowledge, or consent, was a shock that has forever changed our lives,” Abigail Moistner-Hampton tells Inside Edition Digital. “The physical and emotional pain that my husband, myself, and my children endured have left a lasting impact on our well-being. The trauma upon my family continues to affect us and we struggle to find a sense of peace and security.”
Moistner-Hampton says that in the wake of learning her children were being given supplements to sleep the family had to suddenly find new childcare, a process she describes as “arduous” due to their “heightened anxiety.”
But most devastating, explains Moistner-Hampton, is how this impacted her relationship with her two young children.
“The time lost with my 14-month-old child, who would come home exhausted and nearly unresponsive, is particularly heartbreaking. I in fact took my daughter to our family doctor on Jan. 31, 2022, and expressed concern about her exhaustion,” says Moistner-Hampton. “My three-year-old suffered from uncharacteristic, emotional outbursts, headaches, and frequent night terrors.”
Moistner-Hampton says being with friends and family members can also be a struggle after this ordeal.
“We find it difficult to trust others, and constantly worry about the well-being of our children when they are not with us,” says Moistner-Hampton.
She adds: “The burden of guilt and the sense of failure as parents weighs heavily on us. It is a pain that will forever be with us.”
The Cumberland Police Department first learned about Voris’ actions in January of last year after the pastor at the church that ran the daycare told officers that he had learned the director was giving the children melatonin gummies.
The pastor said that the assistant director of the daycare had informed him that after one child’s parent brought in melatonin gummies for her child, Voris became “pleased with the effects” and “began administering the melatonin to a large number of other children without parental consent,” says the probable cause affidavit.
The parents who brought in the gummies did give the daycare permission to provide their child with the supplement, according to the affidavit.
At least 17 children between the ages of one and four were given melatonin over a period of two months, according to the probable cause affidavit. Police learned during their investigation that the melatonin gummies being given to these children were meant for ages four and up, says the affidavit.
Almost every parent who spoke with police noticed changes in their children’s behavior over the course of those two months, says the affidavit.
The only people police did not speak to were the victims.
“My children, who are too young to comprehend what has happened to them, deserve justice,” says Moistner-Hampton.