A Southern California nanny is wanted by police for child abuse for allegedly giving two young children regular doses of adult cold and flu medicine before their nap time, police and the family of the children said.
The boy’s parents believe their young children were being drugged by the same woman they trusted for more than a year to care for them.
The parents claim she gave their 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter daily swigs of adult strength over-the-counter cold and cough medicine so they would nap.
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"I never in a million years would have thought something like this was going on," said the mother, Jeni Waters.
Waters said that when she asked the nanny why the kids seemed mellow, she always had the perfect excuse.
"Oh, yeah, I wore ‘em out at the park," the nanny would say, according to Waters.
Waters and her husband consider themselves to be protective parents. There are cameras in every room of their home, except the children’s bathroom.
Jeni Waters was surprised when her husband, Brian, found a bottle of cough medicine well hidden in that bathroom.
"When he pulled out the bottle he didn’t know what it was because he knew it wasn’t ours," Jeni Waters said.
As soon as the father found the bottle, he took out his cellphone and recorded what his young son told him about "the medicine."
In the cellphone video the family shared with NBC4, the boy tells his father the nanny gave it to them every week day, "…cause 'I don't want you getting sick.'"
Dr. Steven Jensen, the medical director of pediatrics at Miller Children’s Hospital, says using antihistamines on young children can have dangerous, even deadly, consequences.
Some children are so sedated that they might not breathe and you might have a fatality, or some might have hallucinations, heart arrhythmias or seizures, he said.
The Waters took their cellphone video and went to the police. They say the detectives were planning to confront the nanny at the family home, but she never came to work again.
The mother fears because she had told neighbors what happened, word spread.
"She definitely was tipped off," she said. "We never fired her. She never quit. She never collected her last paycheck."
Last month, the nanny, Elizabeth Norma Sanchez, 41, failed to appear in court for her arraignment.
Following her no-show at court, bail was set at $20,000 and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Jennifer Manzella, a spokeswoman at the Newport Beach Police Department, said having a warrant in the system allows police to broaden the network of people who can be looking for Sanchez.
Sanchez is charged with two counts of child abuse.