SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- Thursday night, parents whose children go to Daniel's Academy in South Fort Myers are left with a lot of questions. Were their kids ever in danger? And what do they do now that the business is shut down?
When WINK News first drove up to the daycare Thursday, there were some people still there, but they quickly ran inside and shut off all the lights.
The Department of Children and Families says the daycare is shut down for 90 days while they investigate. That means 20 families will have to find new childcare for their kids.
DCF tells WINK News the daycare director, who they know as Holly Hawkins, was arrested on an out of county warrant for a probation violation. They could not say what she was on probation for.
But a parent whose child goes to the daycare tells WINK News, the director is Christina Perera, who may be going by the alias Holly Hawkins. WINK News checked and Perera was booked into the Lee County Jail at three Thursday afternoon.
The mom said the daycare's ownership changed about 3 or 4 weeks ago, and the directors who had been running the busiess for years suddenly left. Some of the staff also changed, she claims. That mom said she noticed some red flags with the new ownership. For instance, when parents would ask Hawkins for her background information, they would get the runaround.
Here's what WINK News has been able to learn as of Thursday night.
Parents at Daniel's Academy pre-school got invoices and at the top, it's an invoice from Christian Academy of Macon, Georgia. That got us looking into daycare problems up there. We found this woman, Christina Perera has been in trouble for this type of thing before in Georgia. The CBS station in Macon reports she was a wanted felon in Florida when she ran a Macon daycare.
On the Florida Department of Corrections website, we found other aliases and accusations that she was part of defrauding another daycare owner in Georgia out of their business. The Florida Department of Corrections webstie shows she has been arrested for grand theft in 2009 and back in 2006 for organized fraud.