A daycare worker in the Fort Worth suburb of Haslet is accused of pinning down and repeatedly slapping a 4-year-old in her care.
Tracy Ludwig, 36, was arrested and charged with injury to a child. The incident at the Little Country Daycare was recorded by a security camera.
The boy’s mother says they’ve since learned from investigators that management was aware of what happened, but they may not have realized the extent of the incident until they saw the video.
Kindsie Andreason recalled November 6 when her husband picked up Hunter, their 4-year-old son, from Little Country Daycare in Haslet with red scratches on his face and neck.
“They just said he had been kicking and scratched a couple of teachers,” Andreason said. “They said that he got upset during nap time.”
But police say that’s just part of the story.
Surveillance video shows daycare worker Tracy Ludwig straddling Hunter and restraining both of his arms. They struggle for several minutes before the video shows her repeatedly slapping Hunter in the face and chest. At one point, Ludwig appears to look directly at the camera.
Over the next two days, handprints and bruising started showing up on Hunter’s face.
“They continued to tell us that Hunter did it to himself,” his mother said.
But Andreason wasn’t buying it.
Another teacher, who wasn’t there at the time of the incident but heard what happened, told Andreason she wasn’t getting the full story. So Andreason started pressing the daycare owner.
“She said, ‘Do you want to see the video?’ I said absolutely,” Andreason said.
Andreason says they were both horrified at what they saw.
“It just upset me so much. Just total outrage went over me. I don’t know,” she said. “It was just awful to see my son just sitting there being hit by someone you are paying to take care of your kid for you.”
Andreason says her youngest of three boys now has nightmares and won’t sleep alone.
“We have a little dog, and he grabbed Willow’s neck and pushed her down into our bed,” Andreason said. “And we told him we don’t do that. And he just said, ‘I’m being Miss Tracy.’”
State records show the Little Country Daycare has been operating for 22 years and has no record of any serious violations. Someone with management said the daycare has no comment.
FOX 4 News found no prior criminal background for Ludwig during a search of public records.
Andreason has this advice for parents.
“Always ask questions,” she said. “If you see anything on your kid’s body or if they start acting different, bring it up. Ask questions until you get answers.”
Andreason says she does not think management had a chance to view the video before they showed it to her.
In addition to the criminal case against Ludwig, Andreason says they’ve filed a civil lawsuit against the daycare. She says Ludwig is no longer employed there. FOX 4 was unable to reach out to her for comment.