Westerville News & Public Opinion

Daycare provider charged

Police say the woman gave young children drugs to make them drowsy and easy to manage

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A Westerville woman was arrested and charged with child endangerment after she reportedly drugged children in her care to keep them calm.

Tammy E. Eppley, 37, of 89 Fairdale Ave. ran the Caterpillar Clubhouse, a child care center, from her home.

She was arrested after her ex-husband approached police alleging that Eppley mixed melatonin and Benadryl into the children's food and drink to keep them sedate while she watched them.

Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the human body and believed to help regulate the sleep and wake cycle. In synthetic form, it is available for purchase over the counter as a hormonal supplement.

Benadryl is an antihistamine, also available over the counter, known to cause drowsiness.

Parents of the children did not give Eppley permission to administer the drugs to their children, police said.

Eppley's ex-husband provided video and text messages to police from a formal friend, in which Eppley bragged about the practice of sedating the children, police said.

The video showed three or four children sitting calmly on the couch watching television, apparently under the influence of the non-prescription drugs, according to police reports.

In one text message, Eppley allegedly joked about how one of the children noticed the medicine on a cupcake, commenting that the sprinkles tasted funny, according to reports.

Westerville police charged Eppley with six counts of endangering children.

Six victims, between the ages of 2 and 5, are identified in police reports. One of the victims was Eppley's 2-year-old child.

Police said they did not know how long Eppley had been caring for the children, but the reports of drugging the children date back to the middle of February, police said.

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