More Charges Likely in Melatonin Day Care Case, Des Plaines Police Say

“Allegedly, this was done in an effort to calm [the kids] down before nap time,” a release from Des Plaines police read

Parents and neighbors expressed shock and outrage at a suburban day care center Monday where police say three employees were giving children sleep aids prior to nap time.

Gisela Reyes said her 2-year-old daughter has attended Kiddie Junction Educational Institute in Des Plaines for about year. Reyes was shocked to learned about the allegations.

"It's unexpected--I never thought that would happen," she said. "It's very heartbreaking for me because it's something I never would have expected."

Des Plaines police say they got an anonymous tip last week that lead them to the day care.

When they arrived--they learned that three teachers were believed to have been giving melatonin gummies to 2 and 3-year-old children.

Kristen Lauletta, 32, Ashley Helfenbein, 25, And 19-year-old Jessica Heyse are charged with two counts each of battery and endangering the life of a child.

NBC 5 visited the homes of Lauletta and Helfenbein Monday but no one answered the door.

Helfenbein's attorney spoke with NBC 5 over the phone.

“At this point these are simply allegations being brought against my client and the state needs to prove any and all charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

For now--some parents are keeping an open mind.

The director of the day care did not return calls or emails on Monday requesting comment.

Police say more charges are likely.

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