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Illegal Day Care Owner, 3 Employees Arrested for Spiking Children’s Food

Four people have been charged after police learned that children at a New Hampshire day case were being dosed with melatonin.

The substance is often used to enhance sleep.

The Manchester Police Juvenile Division said the arrests came after a lengthy investigation, Manchester police said in a statement on Facebook.

“In November 2023, detectives received a report alleging unsafe practices going on in an in-home daycare at 316 Amory Street,” the statement said.

“Through the investigation, police determined that the children’s food was being sprinkled with melatonin without their parent’s knowledge or consent,” the statement said.

Four people who later turned themselves in to police were charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Police and the state confirmed the daycare was operating without a license, according to WMUR-TV, which reported that state law requires licensing for providers caring for more than three children at a time.

Charged were: day care owner Sally Dreckmann,52, and employees Traci Innie, 51, Kaitlin Filardo, 23, and Jessica Foster, 23, all of Manchester.

“Somebody who’d been inside the building, that had heard about the practices and tipped us off to that,” Manchester Police Department spokeswoman Heather Hamel said. “We also got some anonymous tips as well through our crime line,” Hamel added, according to WMUR.

“This is an over-the-counter drug that can be given as a sleep aid, but for it to be given to children without the knowledge or consent of the parents, it’s very concerning,” she said, according to WHDH-TV.

“It sounded like it was a powder-type substance, maybe pills that were broken up. I don’t know exactly, but it was described as it was sprinkled on the food that the children were being served at lunch,” Hamel said.

One doctor said the substance could harm children.

“There could be an overdose when you’re taking higher doses. Long-term use is not recommended, especially in children,” Dr. Aarti Grover of Tufts Medical Center said.

The suspects are due in court next month, according to WMUR-TV.

“Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to time of day, increasing when it’s dark and decreasing when it’s light. Melatonin production declines with age,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief. Treat melatonin as you would any sleeping pill and use it under your doctor’s supervision,” the clinic said.

It was unclear how long children were given melatonin, or how much they ingested, according to KABC-TV.

Melatonin as a sleep aid for children is “exceedingly common,” according to research in the journal JAMA Pediatrics which was cited by The Washington Post.

The Post report said 6 percent of preschoolers ages 1 to 4 and 18 percent of children 5 to 9 get melatonin as a sleep aid.

The report said 19 percent of adolescents take melatonin for sleep.

The report indicated melatonin is often used over a long time, saying that preschoolers were on it for about 12 months, elementary school children for 18 months and adolescents for 21 months.

  • John sweet says:

    And to think the parents of the children saw this crew beforehand, and still left their child with them! Something tells me it was other family members, what was it a dating service too?

  • vickie says:

    i dont think that children need melatonin…at all….kids play alot and whatever they do helps them to sleep at night….what were they thinking….they need to be earmarked to not be around children …i have tried melatonin and it didnt work….i was old though when trying it….

  • MARTHA WILA says:


  • Blackwidow says:

    As a mother of 3 ,grandmother of 12,great grandmother of3 – NONE are given melatonin or any unnecessary drugs. Liberals must start their children very young on the road to addiction.

  • Sherri Hostuttler says:

    ““This is an over-the-counter drug that can be given as a sleep aid, but for it to be given to children without the knowledge or consent of the parents, it’s very concerning,” she said, according to WHDH-TV.”
    now don’t get me wrong, this should never happen without the parents’ consent, HOWEVER, the state allows kids to get hormones and sex changes without the parents consent!!!!



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