CLEVELAND — Warning: The video in the media player above is graphic and disturbing.
Tuesday morning started out like any other for Marquisha Wilson. Around 10:00 a.m. she dropped her four kids off at the home daycare provider she has used since 2018, Irma Cintron.
“My kids typically go five days a week,” she said. “They've been going there for years, I mean, they've been to family gatherings, birthday parties, all of that, you know, outside of just being a daycare.”
While on her commute from the home provider on Burger Ave. in Cleveland to work, she received a text from her oldest daughter, 10-year-old Dontayzia.
“I’m like ‘Oh, it’s a video,’ and I click on it,” she said.
But what she saw in the video was something she never expected to see.
It shows her 3-year-old daughter getting cursed at, yelled at, slapped and pinched by a worker at the home.
The woman is, seemingly, threatening the little girl to not wet herself during her time at the daycare provider’s home.
The video then shows the worker call over Wilson’s 6-year-old son and proceeds to swear at him, hit him in the head, strangle and threaten him to behave.
“I couldn’t even believe what I was watching. I instantly didn’t even go into work. I just cut my car back on and got back on the freeway, like I’m going to get my kids,” said Wilson.
After getting her kids, Wilson immediately went to the police. She said she knows who the woman in the video is, but News 5 is not naming her because she has not yet been formally charged. However, after investigating, there was an active warrant for an arrest and she was booked into the Cuyahoga County Jail on Wednesday.
Irma Cintron did not open the door when News 5 went to the home for comment. The daycare is a licensed home provider with the state of Ohio. The last inspection of the home was in October of 2020. According to the Department of Jobs and Family Services, there have been no serious risks of non-compliance. But, now, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Cuyahoga County is investigating child endangerment violations.
Wilson said she has never had any problems before Tuesday’s incident, but said after talking to her oldest daughter, she believes it could’ve possibly happened a different time.
“My oldest daughter was like ‘Yeah she hit them before. But, you know, she told us, like, if we would say something, that you would believe her over us,’” said Wilson. “I told my daughter, nobody can ever make me believe them over my children.”
Wilson said she feels betrayed.
“I brought my kids to this daycare. You're thinking that it was somewhere safe where you are to be trusted by people for years and to think that they would do something like this.”
But is proud of her 10-year-old, who pretended to be on Tik Tok while she was recording the video.
“I told her that multiple times. Thank you for having the courage to take it and send it to me immediately,” she said.
She said she is, now, holding her kids a bit tighter.
“I don’t trust anybody with my kids. If it’s not their dad or one of my family members and they won’t be in a daycare facility,” she said.
How to vet a daycare provider
But looking for child care can be overwhelming.
“Parents, especially parents who are experiencing child care for the first time, have a lot of questions and they may be shy about asking. My advice would be don't be shy. Ask lots of questions. This is your child, you have the right to know everything about teachers, curriculum, assessments, what are you doing to help my child grow."
Joan Hamm is the executive director of Children First of Cleveland. She's been working in child care for 35 years.
Hamm said the best thing parents can do when looking for daycare is arm themselves with as much information as possible.
“Visit more than one center or visit more than one home provider,” Hamm said.
She also advised parents to look up the center's star rating with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, to read reviews and ask questions.
“And then use your eyes and ears to feel comfortable as you're looking around and getting your questions answered,” she added. And remember - choose the provider that works best for your family.“I always say to parents I want to be your village but you have to make sure we're the right village for you,” Hamm said.