Hailee Rhoads - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hailee Rhoads

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Danette Zaring, who ran a daycare on Spokane's South Hill, turned herself into authorities on a charge of first degree assault of a child.  The child, who was severely injured, was 23-month-old Hailee Rhoads.   

According to court documents, it was at Zaring's daycare on January 12, 2004 that the abuse took place.  Zaring told police she picked the girl up, lifted her to shoulder height and threw her into a playpen.  The small toddler hit her head on the floor of the playpen and went unconscious.  She threw her, Zaring told police, because the girl wouldn't take a nap.   

Zaring told police that "she considered calling medics, but did not because she didn't want to lose her daycare license".   

The 35-year-old daycare provider, it turns out, had reason to fear losing permission to watch other children.  As police investigated the apparent abuse, they found out that the Department of Social and Health Services received at least six complaints about Zaring dating back to 1998. 

One of those parents who complained about Zaring was Jamie Sijohn.  Sijohn accused Zaring of abusing her children, and was upset that the State never stepped in to stop it.   

"We trusted her as a daycare operator," said Sijohn.  "She took advantage of us - of our defenseless children.  Somebody needs to stop her."   

On March 1, 2004, a Seattle attorney filed a tort claim against the State of Washington, alleging that DSHS should have prevented Zaring from injuring Rhoades.  The attorney, representing the girl's family, demanded $22 million.