A Starkville church daycare provider has reportedly been charged with two counts of felony child abuse, Starkville Police confirmed Thursday.
Dianna Lynn Covin, 52, of 134 Josey Ave., was reportedly released on $10,000 bond and is set to appear in Starkville Municipal Court July 2.
The incidents allegedly took place at the Creative Learning Center, the full-time daycare of First Baptist Church in Starkville, on May 17. CLC Executive Director Karen Graham reportedly confirmed Covin, who had been with the daycare for nine years, was put on administrative leave May 18 and was completely dismissed from the staff on May 21. Covin has reportedly not been back on the premises since she was fired.
According to two separately filed affidavits, a seven-month-old boy and a five-month-old girl were both allegedly given the muscle relaxer Tizanidine by Covin, who is prescribed the medication. The affidavits state Covin reportedly put portions of the drug directly into the children's mouths "for the express purpose of keeping (them) quiet." According to the affidavit filed for the seven-month-old victim, when she was contacted from the emergency room while the child was still under medical attention Covin intentionally withheld information vital to the child's life.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that Tizanidine is "used to relieve the spasms and increased muscle tone caused by multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease in which the nerves do not function properly and patients may experience weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control), stroke, or brain or spinal injury. Tizanidine is in a class of medications called skeletal muscle relaxants. It works by slowing action in the brain and nervous system to allow the muscles to relax."
The Starkville Police Department reportedly declined to confirm an arrest when contacted Wednesday, but issued a news release Thursday confirming the arrest. The release said the investigation involved two children and that the investigation would continue in an effort to determine if there have been additional victims.
FBC reportedly released a statement on Thursday afternoon through CLC Executive Director Graham.
"The entire CLC family is shocked and broken-hearted to learn of the breach of trust by a former employee ... We are working with authorities in their ongoing investigation of this individual. I have been in touch with each of the families involved to communicate our ongoing actions and support. We hold sacred the health and safety of our children."
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