Waukesha child care teacher charged with abuse after allegedly slamming, holding infant face down in crib

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WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Waukesha teacher has been charged with child abuse at a child care facility following the execution of a search warrant Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Heather Miller, 48, is charged with physical abuse of a child -- intentionally causing bodily harm and second degree recklessly endangering safety. 

According to a criminal complaint, officers spoke with a parent on Aug. 29 regarding possible child abuse that occurred while their child was in the care of staff at Lawrence School. The parent reported learning from another teacher that their child was abused in a classroom by lead teacher Heather Miller. 

Detectives learned that on Aug. 17 another staff member witnessed Miller feeding an infant with medical needs at The Lawrence School. Miller allegedly was heard telling the child that he was "physically disgusting" and that "how he eats is disgusting." Later in the day, the witness reported seeing Miller place items around the child's crib in a way that would block the view of security cameras. The witness told detectives they then saw Miller lift the victim and slam him face down into the crib, using so much force that the child's "whole body bounced up and then back down." The witness said the child began to cry and Miller held the infant down into the mattress with so much force they were struggling to breathe. Detectives were told Miller did this for around 30 seconds as the child made a wheezing sound. 

The complaint says the witness immediately alerted staff at the front of the building and stated that something needed to be done right away. The directors reportedly listened but did not respond to the room and said they would look into it. The witness reported the child's face was red, his body was hot and he seemed to be acting different following this incident.

After nothing was done, the witness completed a written statement and delivered it to the child care facility's directors, stating that if Miller kept working at the facility, she needed to be placed in that room to protect the children from her. The witness says she was not placed in the room, and by Aug. 25 no action had been taken.

Investigators spoke with the victim's mother who said the child was finally starting to feel like himself after being ill for several weeks. The mother was advised to take the victim to Children's Wisconsin for an exam. The complaint says doctors found no injuries on this date but reports indicate the child may have had previous injuries that healed. 

The complaint goes on to say a state licensing specialist visited the facility on Sept. 2 and Miller denied harming the child. The owner and child care facility directors reportedly said they had no knowledge of this behavior and denied any staff coming forward with concerns. 

Miller was taken into custody after a search warrant was conducted on Sept. 14. Prosecutors say she denied causing injury to the child and said she didn't know anything about the investigation. 

On Thursday, Miller appeared in court and posted $6,000 bond.

She is due back in court on Sept. 19.

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