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Final employee arrested in connection with 25 kids found in daycare basement

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Katelynne Nelson is now in custody after failing to appear for her jury trial in August of 2021, alongside her co-defendants Carla Faith and Christina Swauger. Faith and Swauger were convicted of dozens of charges each in connection with an investigation into dozens of children being hidden in a daycare basement.

The three women were charged after Colorado Springs Police found 25 children under the age of 3 years old hidden behind a false wall that led to a basement in Faith's in-home daycare on East Willamette Avenue. The officers were performing a welfare check on November 13, 2019, after Faith refused to allow DHS to perform unannounced inspections of her daycare and DHS received a tip from someone who believed Faith was caring for too many kids in her daycare.

Faith was licensed to operate her daycare through the Department of Human Services, but she was only supposed to be operating out of part of her home and was only allowed to have six kids in her care at a time. She also wasn't approved to have any employees working for her that cared for children. She allegedly had at least four employees caring for kids at her daycare, none of them had DHS-approved training or background checks. Even if they had, they wouldn't be allowed to be alone with any children.

Faith, the owner of Play Mountain Place, was found guilty in August of 2021 on 26 counts of child abuse, one count of attempting to influence a peace officer, one count of obstructing a peace officer, and three counts of operating a daycare without a license. Faith was sentenced to six years behind bars.

Swauger, an employee at Play Mountain Place, was found guilty on 26 counts of misdemeanor child abuse. She was also found guilty on charges of attempting to influence a public servant and obstructing a peace officer.

Nelson was taken into custody on February 4th, 2022, on four additional arrest-only charges unrelated to the daycare: attempting to influence and public servant, criminal impersonation, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia. She had four separate warrants for failing to appear in court when she was arrested in early February. She failed to appear on the charges related to her involvement with Play Mountain Place, but also for things like obstructing a peace officer, leaving the scene of a traffic accident, failing to report an accident, and speeding.

Nelson is facing 28 charges for her involvement in the daycare during the 2019 welfare check. She was found in the basement with the children when officers moved the false wall to reveal the basement full of toddlers. She's facing 26 charges of no-injury child abuse and two drug charges as well. Her arrest affidavit shows that when police performed the 2019 search of Play Mountain Place, they found a backpack with Nelson's payslips. The backpack also contained three syringes and two plastic baggies, both containing methamphetamine.

Nelson was also convicted of a felony two separate times in 2011 for identity theft and forgery.

Nelson is expected back in court on February 17th, 2022 to address her charges related to Play Mountain Place.

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Sydnee Scofield

Sydnee is a Senior Reporter and Weekend Anchor for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.

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