A Colorado daycare owner used a “false wall” to hide two adults and 26 kids inside a basement, disguising the fact that her facility was only licensed to hold six children, police have alleged.
On Wednesday, the Colorado Springs Police Department responded to a call at Play Mountain Place after receiving complaints of overcrowding, according to the police report. Officers also enlisted the help of the Department of Human Services to perform a welfare check on the children in care.
Police said the facility — owned by 58-year-old Carla Faith, who also lives on the property — refused to cooperate with the officers upon their arrival.
Although officers could not see any children at the daycare, they report they heard noises that eventually drew them to find a “false wall” that led to the home’s finished basement where 26 children under the age of 3 were being held.
The state suspended Faith’s daycare license as well as another daycare which she operates down the street, KDVR reported.
“Officers immediately began working with DHS to release the children back to their parents,” the police department told CNN.
While three adult workers were initially arrested for “misdemeanor child abuse relating to neglect,” the police report stated, these charges were dropped as the investigation continues.
“This was not a play area. This was a dungeon. We’re just sick,” one parent told KDVR.
“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,” another parent told 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.”
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
In the state of Colorado, according to KDVR, the law requires there to be one adult per every five kids — meaning Faith over doubled the limit at her current facility.
The Colorado Springs Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
This was not the first time Faith has been involved in a daycare situation involving authorities. KDVR reported that she owned a daycare in California in the ’90s, which was also reportedly closed due to repeated overcrowded violations — one instance involved 44 children with only three adults.
As of Friday, Faith has not been arrested as “detectives pursue appropriate charges,” the report confirmed. A spokesperson for the day care did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The post Colorado Day Care Owner Conceals 26 Kids Under the Age of 3 Behind Secret Wall: Police appeared first on People.