Whitney and Chris Matney were new to the whole parenting business and were unaware of the terrible mistake they would make when hiring a woman to take care of their child. To make matters worse, they knew this woman and felt deeply betrayed by her actions.
Whitney’s discovery would shock not only her but also the rest of the world. It is guaranteed to make you rethink hiring a babysitter. Whitney’s motherly intuition did not fail her, and she was able to uncover the truth about the woman she hired. This mother’s instincts spared her daughter’s life.
Whitney and Chris Matney patiently anticipated the birth of the baby girl in 2011. After she was born, they chose to name her Rylee. She was a lovely and healthy baby girl, and they could not wait to begin their life as a family in Springdale, Arkansas.
Whitney, however, had to go back to law school. This meant that she would be separated from her newborn daughter for several hours each day.
After Chris returned to work, he realized they would have to hire a babysitter when his wife finally returned to school. Whitney’s dream was to become a lawyer, so she agreed.
The couple started their search for a sitter to take care of Raylee while they were away. However, they did not know they would be living through an absolute nightmare after hiring one.
Whitney went through hundreds of candidates, searching for the best match for her family. Upon deciding on a familiar face for the job, she went to great lengths to follow all the precautions.
Melissa Medma, an old high school classmate, contacted her after she posted the ad on Facebook. Since Medma was a familiar face in a sea of strangers, she agreed to have her meet the family.
Whitney continued to screen people because she wanted the best person possible to look after her daughter. Whitney had a good impression of Melissa based on her social media page as she was screening her. Whitney even contacted Melissa’s references.
They all gave great reviews about Melissa. This satisfied Whitney, and she finally allowed Raylee to meet Melissa. Her daughter’s reaction to Melissa would be the deciding factor.
Things went amazingly when Melissa met Raylee at long last! Raylee and Melissa seemed to enjoy their time together very much. Whitney was thrilled by this. She had no cause for concern anymore, so she decided to hire Melissa.
After choosing the babysitter, Whitney was eager to return to school since she hadn’t stepped into a classroom in months.
Despite thoroughly investigating Melissa, she was still anxious about leaving her baby alone. The couple exchanged their goodbyes and carried on with their day as Melissa returned for her first day.
When they returned home, they found everything was still in place. They had no reason to be concerned! Raylee was as joyful as usual – but don’t let appearances fool you. They began getting Raylee ready for bed later that evening. Then she started acting strangely. She would cry every time Whitney came into her room. Raylee seemed to be terrified of her mother.
Whitney was puzzled since she didn’t understand why Raylee’s behavior had changed so quickly. She tried to come up with every possible explanation for why this could happen. Perhaps she was catching a bug? Or did she not get enough sleep during her nap today?
Whitney tried to dismiss it despite her concerns. She did not even think it might be connected with how Raylee was treated by Melissa that day. Melissa seemed to be in good spirits when she left earlier! She brushed it aside, assuming her daughter was growing used to the new babysitter. She pushed her feelings aside for a second. Who knew that these feelings would worsen over time?
Whitney continued to attend school, and Chris kept working every day. Raylee and Melissa were spending more time together. Whitney discovered that her infant was taking longer naps that lasted almost three hours longer! Whitney was trying to figure out what was happening because she had no idea why she was so tired.
Being a first-time mother, she was aware of all her daughter’s characteristics. She decided to take Raylee to the doctor for a physical exam because she wanted to make sure. The doctor couldn’t find anything physically wrong with her.
Whitney informed her doctor that she had recently returned to school after spending months at home caring for Raylee. They had just hired a sitter; she told the doctor. The doctor was given all the facts and then explained that Raylee might be going through separation anxiety. It affects toddlers and young children; symptoms appear around six months. It typically happens when a child shows severe anxiety if one or both parents try to leave for any amount of time.
The problem can persist until a child is well over two years old. Some children never go through it but still scream and cry when their parents are not around. It also affects a child’s sleep schedule. Whitney assumed that this must be what was wrong with Raylee.
Whitney took the doctor’s advice to heart and decided that her daughter was just experiencing separation anxiety. Soon after, Raylee’s behavior changed again. Now Whitney started to believe Melissa had something to do with it. Whitney started to notice that whenever Melissa would arrive, her daughter would run behind her or her husband’s legs to hide.
Whitney wanted to observe more, so she let a month pass, and more red flags were going off. She decided that was enough and wanted to get to the bottom of what Melissa was doing to her daughter.
Whitney decided to install a nanny cam to provide visual evidence of the problem. She went out to get a normal clock radio which held the camera inside.
The lens was on the side of the radio, and she positioned it where it could record everything. Ready to find out the truth, she was ready to leave for school.
Melissa arrived as planned, and Whitney attended her classes. She wanted to see if her daughter really experiences separation anxiety.
What the recordings showed to Whitney and Chris when they both got home would make them feel sick to their stomachs. They were horrified by the images captured on the camera, and because of this, Raylee would not see Melissa again.
When Melissa left for the day, Whitney rushed over to the camera. She found that it was in a completely different position than where she had left it. Melissa turns the nanny cam away into the living room.
It was facing the wall. Whitney grabbed the clock anyway, hoping she would find some answers. She got a lot more than she thought she would with the cam. After a few months, Whitney finally got to see what her daughter was going through.
On the tapes, it was shown that Melissa was treating Raylee like she was not even human. Whitney first saw that Raylee was in a device that bounced up and down like a bungee for over two hours. The entire time, she was not given any food, no drinks, and no attention whatsoever.
Was this the same Melissa that had rave reviews about her? Whitney was filled with many emotions: mad, upset, and shocked. This was not the end of the abuse Raylee had been through.
Before Melissa turned the nanny cam away, it recorded quite a bit. It recorded her beating Raylee violently. The act was past appalling.
The spanking was meant to make Raylee stop crying. But the cries eventually went from pain to panic. But as shocking and angering as this was, it wasn’t the worst of Whitney’s findings.
When hitting did not silence Raylee, Melissa decided to try another method. She was seen grabbing the child and holding her at waist height. Then she held onto Raylee and began to shake her in an extremely violent way.
Melissa moved her from side to side and in a circle while shaking her. Because of the movements, Raylee stopped crying like her babysitter wanted her to.
Violent shaking a young child or baby is harmful. There is a syndrome called Shaken Baby Syndrome which has a mortality rate of 38%. This means that children who have been shaken in any kind of violent way could die from these terrible movements. Because of their heads and necks are vulnerable, this can cause death to many young children.
Infants and children can also develop a variety of health issues. Bleeding around the brain and eyes, hearing loss, increase of seizures, paralysis, and learning and developmental disabilities. It could have easily happened to Raylee based on what Whitney found on the nanny cam. Realizing all of this, Whitney knew that she had to protect her daughter right away.
After witnessing terrible abuse, Whitney rushed her daughter to the emergency room. When the doctors ran some tests, the results came back good! Raylee was a resilient and strong girl with no damage found on her tests.
While Whitney was relieved of the good news, another thought came into her mind. She was worried about the psychological effects this could have on her child. Whitney was unable to calm down since she is a first-time mother.
Whitney and Chris had to report Melissa to the police. There was no way that she could let Melissa near Raylee or any other children again. They drove to the police station and filed a report.
With all the evidence presented, the police were ready to take action against this terrible babysitter. The police officers decided to ambush her the next time she went to work at the family’s household.
This monster of a babysitter showed up the next morning as if nothing had happened. She was in for a rude awakening when the police were waiting for her as soon as she got out of her car. In front of the household, she was arrested.
Whitney, watching the ordeal outside her home, recorded how it went down with her camera. She knew that Melissa would get what she deserved.
Since Melissa did not have any previous record, the felony she ended up getting was “endangering the welfare of a minor.” Receiving this charge meant that Melissa would not get the proper punishment she deserved.
She would only serve a maximum of three months in jail and be placed on probation for three years. The worst part was that after her three years of probation were over, her record would be clean.
Whitney was furious that someone like Melissa could easily get away with a terrible crime. The soon-to-be lawyer started researching. She knew that Melissa would do this again in another three years if she did not stop her now.
First, she wanted everyone to know who Melissa was and what she did to her daughter. She decided to make the story known and what Melissa did to her daughter. The mother decided to contact the media and share the details of the story.
When researching, Whitney saw that she can go even further than the media. She had to get to the root of the problem to make sure that Melissa and people similar to her would never be around children again. Whitney contacted people and got enough support to start campaigns across Arkansas.
After getting the awareness of this story needed, she tried to get people from around the country and the world involved. Whitney was inspired by what was happening with the movement that she sent out a bill.
When Whitney was interviewed by ABC News, she said, “Arkansas will be the first state to have a registry if it passes. Everybody who’s been criminally convicted will be listed out there for everyone to see.”
After fighting, the bill passed. This would cause lots of celebration for Whitney and everyone that believed in her bill. This would mean that Melissa and people like her would never be able to be hired as someone’s babysitter/nanny again. The proof of her actions would remain on her record forever.
Sadly, Melissa refused to comment on this terrible incident, despite being asked several times. No one but her will know why she abused Raylee the way she did.
Even though her motives remain a secret, her record will follow her around forever. This gave Whitney comfort.
Thankfully, Raylee got her smile back and grew up to be a happy and healthy child! Her parents said that she seemed to get over the incident, and they could not be prouder.
This child is one of the few lucky children that was not permanently damaged by the abuse of a monster babysitter. Many predators still out there have yet to take responsibility for their horrible actions.
In Buffalo, New York, a similar incident occurred, resulting in days of harrowing trauma for a mom who only wanted her child to be taken care of while she was away at work.
Alice was a young mom looking to support her child. After a heartbreaking breakup with the father of Nala, her one-year-old daughter, she changed cities in search of greener pastures. But what she found was nothing but more heartbreak.
Alice was twenty-seven when she had her kid. She and Nala’s dad had been close and in love. They met in college, and although many warned Alice against pursuing a relationship with him, she ended up marrying him.
Life was perfect for her. She had everything she could ever want: a good job, a wonderful husband, and the best news any newly wedded wife could receive from her doctor.
Yes! Alice received a call from her doctor after complaining of stomach pains. It turns out she was five weeks pregnant without the tale tell signs of pregnancy.
She and her husband celebrated at length. After all, they had been trying to get pregnant for a few months now. Alice had no idea that the end was near.
Her daughter had just turned eleven months old when Alice found out the truth about her husband. He was not being faithful to the vows he shared with her at the altar.
Heartbroken, Alice annulled the marriage. She asked for a transfer at work and packed her things. With everything set, she took little Nala and moved to Buffalo. But the worst was still ahead of her.
Alice’s life was full of pain. There was a constant void in her heart now that she was alone. Her bed seemed bigger, her house quieter without her husband running all over complaining about work or beer.
Alice missed him, but she knew she and Nala deserved better. She would work on herself, build a home for her kid, and give her the best life she could ever ask for. But first, she needed to report to work.
Living in a new city without friends or family can be very daunting. The pressure doubles when you are a new mom raising a toddler.
Such was Alice’s case. She needed to figure out how she would handle the situation. All signs pointed toward getting a babysitter. Knowing she had no other choices, Alice began vetting prospective sitters for her kid.
The vetting process didn’t take long before Alice found someone she felt she could trust. Christine was a second-year student from the local college looking to make a few extra bucks as she waited for summer break to end.
She was delightful to talk to and immediately bonded with Nala without a hitch. Hoping she’d made the right choice, Alice hired her. She should’ve known better.
With the babysitter issue sorted, Alice could focus on stabilizing the rest of her life. She called the new branch to which she was supposed to report and confirmed she’d be coming the following week.
The new week came, and Alice reported to work. She spent the day knowing her new colleagues, and although the experience was great, she couldn’t deny that her mind was still at home.
She missed Nala, especially when something reminded her of her ex-husband. The healing journey was long, and Nala was the biggest reason Alice was still lucid while taking it.
She couldn’t wait to get home to her. She was already on her way home by six in the evening, hoping to spend some time with Nala before preparing for the next day. But she wasn’t home for an hour before realizing something was wrong.
Alice found Nala asleep when she got home. Her babysitter tidied up the living room and cleared Nala’s toys and blankets.
Alice thanked and paid her, saying she couldn’t wait to have her over the next day. She took a quick shower and prepared dinner just as Nala woke up. But as she went to carry her from her crib, she realized something.
Nala recoiled when Alice reached out for her. She seemed to have noticed who Alice was because she burst out crying with her arms out.
Alice took it as her baby being upset after spending her first day without her mommy. She carried Nala and soothed her. But Nala would do the same thing throughout the week.
Alice was confused about what was happening. Her baby had always been affectionate and curious. She loved crawling to people and cooing with happiness.
But now she seemed distant and scared, always spooked by noises from the tv and Alice’s phone. She was terrified of people being hostile to one another in movies and the like. What was going on?
At first, Alice theorized that the change in environment negatively affected little Nala. But then she realized her baby was scared of people when a few friends flew in to visit them.
Scared that the babysitter was doing something to her kid, Alice installed hidden cameras in every room. She played it cool when the babysitter came in the next day. But what she’d uncover would have her calling the authorities.
Alice sat at her desk quietly as she watched the babysitter clean the house before feeding Nala. Right then, the baby started crying, trying her best to get out of the babysitter’s lap.
Seemingly irritated, the babysitter began yelling at her, raising her voice and smacking the table as she screamed at Nala to shut up. Alice jumped from her seat, calling the police as she raced out of her office.
She had finally uncovered the reason why Nala had been so scared lately! She reached home in time to save Nala from whatever the babysitter was about to do.
The police came in and, after scrutinizing the contents of the camera and taking in Alice’s account of the change in Nala’s behavior, put the babysitter in handcuffs. The rest would be handled in court.
It is easy to think that someone could be the right fit for your family, but you never really know everything about the person. People will only show you their good side during an interview.
It’s difficult to make the right call because you might be seeing a fake side of them. It is really up to the parents to stay aware as Whitney did.
Having a sitter on hand is a necessity for working families. Sadly, we always hear nightmare stories on the news and social media. Some babysitters ended up killing the children.
Whitney and Chris never thought they would end up in this situation, but they did. At the end of the day, there was no way for Whitney to know that Melissa was going to hurt her daughter.
While you can never predict how a stranger will act around your child, there are ways to screen them that should allow you to get a feeling of them. This includes talking to past clients, reading reviews, using reputable sites, and do not use social media. Also, consider installing cameras in your home, like in the living room or kitchen. Do not tell the babysitter.
Parents should also be familiar with the children’s behavior before and after meeting the babysitter. Whitney, who is an amazing mother, did most of these things, which helped her save her daughter’s life and get justice for her.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.