Parents sew recording device in toddler’s jacket, capture audio of day care worker threatening to harm kids

The employee and a second worker heard using profane language toward children are now banned from working for KinderCare facilities

The audio was recorded in December 2022 inside Mossrock KinderCare. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Two employees of a San Antonio day care directed profane language toward young children, with one of the women even threatening to harm kids in her care, according to audio recordings obtained by KSAT Investigates.

The nearly seven hours of audio, recorded by a small device sewn into a toddler’s jacket in December, has caused the day care’s parent company to permanently ban both women from working at its facilities.

“I just felt really deceived and devastated for my child,” said parent Carley Hernandez.

The audio was recorded on this device, which was sewn in a toddler's jacket. (KSAT)

Hernandez made the decision to buy a small recording device and implant it into her then-20-month-old daughter’s jacket after suspecting that the child was being mistreated while in the care of Mossrock KinderCare in the 2700 block of Mossrock, on the North Side.

WARNING: This article contains graphic language.

The audio, recorded Dec. 20, captured one employee making the following comments to young children in her care:

  • “I’m gonna go and I’m going to beat both of y’all. That’s what I’m going to do.”
  • “I’m about to throw some bitch swings at some of y’all right now.”
  • “Get up and move! Sit down (baby whimpers). Sit your ass down. Come sit down now (name redacted).”
  • “You better not be playing with that soap because I’m going to leave that soap in your hand and you’re going to eat with it (baby cries). Get away. Go sit down!”
  • “Touch it and you die.”
  • “Sit your ass down.”
  • “Just get away from me, because I will end up in jail.”
  • “You’re an asshole.”
  • “Shut the fuck up (name redacted). Go (name redacted). Get your ass over there and start jacking off over there.”
  • “You’re nasty (baby cries).”

At another point, the woman says on the recording, “I’ll start being violent. Just for her.” It’s not clear in the recording whether the woman is talking about a child or a parent who recently visited the facility.

Change in behavior, denial of water leads to suspicion

Hernandez said she and her husband began suspecting that their daughter was being mistreated within weeks of enrolling her at the day care center last fall.

“My daughter changed drastically. She had started being really, really violent. Hitting, kicking, screaming,” said Hernandez, who added that her child stopped responding to her name and even lost some weight.

Aaron and Carley Hernandez. (KSAT)

Hernandez said she was convinced to record what was taking place inside the facility after witnessing an incident in which her daughter asked for water but was denied by one of the employees.

“If you’re not giving a child water and you’re that open about it and your director’s not even concerned about it, there’s something bigger going on,” said Hernandez.

‘I trusted these people’

After downloading and listening to the recordings, Hernandez and her husband, Aaron, made the decision to pull their daughter out of the facility.

Many of the comments from day care employees were specifically directed at the Hernandez’s child, who turns two this month, the recordings confirm.

“I trusted these people and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that again,” said Aaron Hernandez.

Case filed with SAPD, CPS

Carley Hernandez later reported the incident to the San Antonio Police Department and Child Protective Services.

She expressed frustration during a recent interview with KSAT with what she described as a lack of movement in either case.

SAPD records show detectives first investigated the incident as terroristic threats.

Carley Hernandez, however, said a detective assigned to it told her late last month it would likely be filed with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office as a lower-level disorderly conduct case.

SAPD officials this week did not respond to an email from KSAT seeking an update on the status of the case.

A spokesperson for CPS told KSAT via email last month its investigation was ongoing.

The audio was recorded inside Mossrock KinderCare. (KSAT)

A Mossrock KinderCare official confirmed to parents in late February that neither teacher is still employed at the day care, records reviewed by KSAT show.

Staff at the facility declined to talk to KSAT for this story.

A KinderCare spokesperson instead released the following statement:

“The behavior of these two teachers is unacceptable. It does not reflect our company values or the high standards we hold ourselves to and will not be tolerated. The teachers involved are no longer KinderCare employees and will never work for KinderCare, or any of our brands, again. We’re committed to creating welcoming, safe and nurturing environments for all children. To help deliver on our commitment to our communities, we regularly train all center staff on best practices, including positive child guidance.”

At least one accreditation group, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is no longer accrediting the facility as of late February, records viewed by KSAT confirm.

A NAEYC media representative did not respond to an email seeking further details on its decision to “defer” accreditation of the facility.

KSAT is not naming either woman heard on the recordings because they have not been criminally charged or identified in any public investigative records.

None of the allegations of misconduct against the teachers being investigated involve physical violence, police records show.

About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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