Day care worker on the run after allegedly beating 8-month-old boy

Police are searching for a Florida woman who allegedly beat a boy in her care.

October 1, 2019, 11:49 PM

Police are searching for a Florida day care worker who allegedly assaulted a baby boy in her care last week.

Erica Hall, a 27-year-old employee at the Cuddly Kids Academy day care in Gainesville, Florida, is accused of physically assaulting an 8-month-old baby and fleeing the scene before police could catch up with her, charging documents show.

"It's like a nightmare," Laquiesha Davis, the child's mother, told ABC News Tuesday. "We haven't been able to sleep. This girl is still out on the run and we won't be able to sleep until she is arrested."

"This is the type of stuff you see on the news all the time, but you pray and hope that it never hits home. Unfortunately, it hit home," she added.

PHOTO: Laquiesha and Steven Davis, of Gainesville, Fla., say their 8-month-old son was beaten by a day care worker, who is now on the run from police.
Laquiesha and Steven Davis, of Gainesville, Fla., say their 8-month-old son was beaten by a day care worker, who is now on the run from police.
WCJB

Davis said the day care called her on Thursday afternoon, asking her if she was aware of a scar on the child's face. She arrived moments later and made the harrowing discovery: her baby, Jake, was bleeding.

She said his face was swollen, his eyes were bloodshot and he had bruises on his neck and head.

"When I got there, the director was trying to leave and I told her she wasn't going anywhere until they told me what was going on with my child," Davis said. "When I saw my son, I immediately knew that it was child abuse."

"There's absolutely no reason these people should have neglected my child in the way they did," she added.

Day care workers initially told her that they weren't sure of what happened to the child, according to Davis, but she demanded to see the surveillance footage.

What she saw made her stomach churn. The footage showed Hall, who was gone by that point, reaching into Jake's crib and mashing his face multiple times, according to Davis. She said she saw the woman's hand rise and fall on her baby's head at least three times with force so strong that it caused his head to rock.

Davis said her baby hasn't been the same since the incident. She's waiting for tests to come back to confirm that there are no internal injuries.

PHOTO: A 8-month-old child at Cuddly Kids Academy in Gainesville, Fla., was allegedly hit by a day care worker. The woman, Erica Hall, is on the run from police.
A 8-month-old child at Cuddly Kids Academy in Gainesville, Fla., was allegedly hit by a day care worker. The woman, Erica Hall, is on the run from police.
WCJB

Now, the mother of three said she's considering taking legal action against the day care. She said officials there waited two hours before calling her and accused them of trying to "sweep the case under the rug."

Officials at Cuddly Kids Academy said they were working with law enforcement to investigate the incident, but did not respond to ABC News' request for additional information.

"We are deeply saddened by the recent incident that occurred at Cuddly Kids Academy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the impacted family," the day care said in a statement Tuesday. "We will continue, as we have from the beginning, to work with the appropriate authorities and regulatory agencies in every way."

Hall, who is wanted on child abuse charges, according to court records, had not been apprehended as of Tuesday night.

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