Daycare Nightmare: "I Was Furious; That's When I Called Police"

Nola Ridenhour
By  | 

SPARKS, NV - Natia Ridenhour can still recall her reaction when she saw the bruises on her daughter's arm, face and leg.

"I believed that somehow it was my fault, that I'd failed my child. I was really angry. I was furious. That's when I called police."

That call led to an month-long investigation and, this week, the arrest by Sparks police of 28-year-old Jennifer Beach on charges of child abuse.

Two months earlier, Todd and Natia Ridenhour had enrolled five-month-old Nola in a day care center housed in a Wingfield Springs home.

The woman who operates the center has a license to do so. She told the Ridenhours her enrollment was full, but since she was working with Beach, could take Nola.

Natia Ridenhour says she was led to believe Beach was an employee of the day care center.

She also assumed Beach was licensed. As it turns out, she was not.

Ridenhour also assumed Nola would be cared for at the home, but soon learned her daughter was sometimes taken elsewhere during the day, on Beach's personal errands or to her home.

She and her husband made plans to take Nadia elsewhere; then she says she got a text that indicated Beach had thought of taking Nola with her on a day trip to Fallon.

She went to Beach's home and knocked. She says she could hear Nola screaming. At first no one answered. Then she says she could hear Beach coming down to the ground floor. The door opened and she saw her daughter.

"She was sitting there trying to get her bottle. I got angry and I just scooped her up and left."

Later the bruises began showing up.

"To be honest the more I think about it sometimes I cry and my husband gets angry."

Today Beach is facing child abuse charges and Washoe County Social Services has reopened its investigation into whether Beach was an employee and should have been licensed.

Ridenhour looks back on what her family has been through and wants others to know what she's learned.

"Not every one (daycare provider) is like that. Honestly I would keep looking until you find someone you're absolutely comfortable with."

Parents can also check on a provider's license and read inspection reports by Social Services. A link and phone number are listed on this website under Hot Topics.