A Colorado daycare hid 26 children in a "false wall" in the basement to conceal it had too many children in its care, police said Friday. Local authorities arrived at the Play Mountain Place in Colorado Springs Wednesday after complaints about overcrowding.
During a search, officials found the children, under the age of 3, behind the false wall along with 2 adults. The daycare had a licensed capacity of six children, according to May 2019 data on the Colorado Department of Human Services website.
The department immediately suspended the day care's license while it investigates, the agency said in a statement.
"I am completely betrayed," parent Jeanete Conde told TV station KCNC. "Every parent I have talked to about this, we all feel completely betrayed. It's so hard to trust your children with people and we felt like we could really trust them."
Official statement said that police did not immediately find any children when they first arrived at the daycare. They contacted owner Carla Faith and she "refused to cooperate" with the officers, police said. But police could hear children in her home. When they conducted a search, they found the false wall leading to the basement.
"Officers immediately began working with DHS to release the children back to their parents," the police department said.
Three daycare workers were initially arrested for "misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect," police said.
"I'm really hoping nothing more nefarious has been going on and that in fact, it is an overcrowding issue which is bad enough as it is," a parent told CNN affiliate KKTV. "Miss Carla seems like such a nice person and she's always been so accommodating and perhaps she has a hard time saying no. I don't know, I'm just going to have to chalk it up to that."
Faith was not arrested at the scene, police said, "as detectives pursue appropriate charges."