OSCEOLA, Ark. -- Focus Inc. has been caring for one woman's 3-year-old grandson for a year. He’s nonverbal so he needs special care. That’s why she was alarmed when his behavior changed recently.
“If you approach him, he runs from us. He backs up to a corner,” she said.
But now it’s beginning to make sense.
WREG has confirmed Osceola Police are investigating the day care for physical abuse allegations against multiple children.
“He might’ve been slapped in the face with a paper-towel holder. Another child was hit in the face with a book,” she said.
She said a former employee called the state hotline about it, and that's when authorities started investigating.
Facility employees told her they then looked through their surveillance video and reported more incidents.
“Some of the abuse is videotaped from the agency,” the grandmother said.
She said she hasn’t watched the video yet, but these allegations were weighing on her family.
“It makes you sick to the stomach. Makes you angry. You want to retaliate because, 'Why?'”
The grandmother said she and her family can’t sleep at night. Their only comfort is knowing he's still alive.
“In the back of your mind you're thinking, 'It could’ve been worse,'” she said.
Police said they completed the criminal investigation and handed it over to assistant prosecutor Catherine Dean. Dean said she'd examine the evidence and determine whether to file charges.
Focus, Inc. released a statement to WREG saying, it "does not condone maltreatment of any child and will not tolerate such conduct. We made prompt reports to appropriate agencies and to law enforcement. Two Osceola staff members are no longer employed by Focus."