PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Prescott Valley Police Department is trying to figure out if there are additional suspects or victims in connection to a child abuse investigation at a day care facility.
Officers said on Thursday they are investigating "numerous" reports of alleged child abuse that happened at Gummy Bear Early Learning Center.
Chandler Blankenship, 18, has been arrested for aggravated assault on a child and child abuse, according to police.
The owner of the day care said Blankenship had worked there since February.
Officers searched the day care's two locations for evidence.
"We take this crime very seriously. We take all crimes in our town very seriously. We want to make sure people are held accountable for their actions," said Sgt. Jason Kaufman with the Prescott Valley Police Department.
The investigation started after a 3-year-old girl came home with bruises all over her face, ears and neck.
"We are so horribly sorry for what happened and we wish there was something we could've done. Please forgive us," said Rebecca, who didn't want to reveal her last name for her safety. Rebecca is the director of the Manley Drive location of the daycare.
Police said since that mother came forward, they have opened up five other investigations of child abuse and believe there could be more.
"From an insider point of view, we didn't have signs," Rebecca said. "Other allegations are coming up that we wish they would've come to us more aggressively and we wish they would've told us what was going on, we might've been able to see more signs. He was very loved by many, many, including her."
Employees say there is surveillance video of the incident. However, they are not able to release the video just yet. They said it appears the abuse happened in the bathroom where there are no cameras.
The director noted that Blankenship went through the proper certification to be able to assist children in the bathroom.
Staff members also say Blankenship went to great lengths to cover up what happened, even using the girl's hair to cover up the marks. Then teen also claimed the toddler got into a fight with another child.
The director of Gummy Bear Learning Center can't believe it.
"I wish I knew what I could've done. I really wish I had some sign that was like, 'okay, he needs to go.' But there was just nothing to be seen that led up to it, even that day," Rebecca said.
Police said the day care is cooperating with the police investigation and the licensing agency has been notified.
The day care had several violations with the Department of Health Services at the two locations but most were sanitation problems, nothing along the lines of abuse.
If parents have had children attend the facility between February and July of this year and think their kids may have been abused, they are urged to call Prescott Valley Police Department at 928-772-9267 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.