PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — The Department of Human Services (DHS) confirmed Monday it is investigating a Pleasant Hill woman convicted of child endangerment who is attempting to run an illegal daycare.
“DHS was informed of the Facebook posts by Cindy Holt and have initiated a complaint intake on her illegal operation. The local field office is aware and have assigned the case,” said a DHS spokesperson.
Cindy Holt and her daughter, Amanda Holt, previously ran a licensed in-home daycare in Pleasant Hill. In 2016, a mother took her baby to the hospital for bite marks, saying the injuries happened at the Holt’s daycare.
Cindy Holt eventually pleaded guilty to child endangerment causing bodily injury, a Class D Felony, and her daughter, Amanda Holt, pleaded guilty to child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.
Both women received two years of probation.
Two years later, with her probation complete, Cindy Holt is now posting her daycare openings in Altoona. She is using different aliases but saying the same thing, stating she already has a small daycare with five children and is looking to expand.
According to DHS, Holt was revoked and prohibited from having involvement in child care in September 2016.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Over two years ago Pleasant Hill woman, Cindy Holt, pleaded guilty to child endangerment causing bodily injury. That’s a felony. But now the ex-daycare operator is trying to get back in business, and the mother whose child was hurt is making sure no one gets hurt again.
“I kinda thought I’m going to be able to go on with my life. I’m not going to have to deal with this. I haven’t heard about it in two years,” Emalie Cipale explains. “Then it’s just a normal Sunday night, and it pops back up.”
Cipale says two years after the sentencing of her daycare provider she was finally beginning to move on. We reported back in 2016 Cipale’s now three-year-old daughter, Harper, was found under the care of Cindy Holt with bite marks all over her body. Now Cipale says those feelings she felt that day are all coming back.
“Every emotion from being angry, to shocked, to crying, to instantly wanting to hold Harper,” Cipale said.
That’s what Cipale felt when she came to pick up her then 9-month-old daughter from daycare back in August of 2016 and found her with human bite marks all over from a child while Holt was napping.
“They turn Harper around and Cindy says ‘I’m sorry’ and after that, I’ve been asked what was said, and I don’t remember because all I wanted was Harper and I wanted out,” Cipale said.
Cindy Holt pleaded guilty to child endangerment causing bodily injury, a Class D Felony, and her daughter, Amanda Holt, pleaded guilty to child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.
“So I’m going out on a limb here, and going to give you you`re deferred judgement,” Judge Robert Hanson said on sentencing day back on February 14th, 2017.
Instead of jail time, the deferred judgement involved a sentence of two years probation.
“But you know that does not come with no strings attached,” Judge Hanson went on to explain.
“I want you to know that I do not plan on doing daycare again,” Holt said moments before being sentenced in 2017. “I do not want my family or any other family to go through this again.”
Two years later, with her probation complete, Holt is now posting her daycare openings in Altoona. She’s using different aliases but saying the same thing, stating she already has a small daycare with five children and is looking to expand.
“I just really hope she’s not still watching five kids,” Cipale said.
Cipale won’t ever forget what happened to her child, but other parents seeing the Facebook ads would have no idea. Holt’s records were expunged. The child endangerment charge no longer appears on the online court system.
“I hope and pray these parents have heard this, someone’s told them ‘hey you need to look at this. You need to read this. You need to know what’s going on,” Cipale said.
Cipale is making sure other parents know what’s going on, taking things into her own hands online.
“Does another child have to get hurt? Does another child have to be put in danger for this woman to finally be shut down?” Cipale asked.
Both Cipale and Channel 13 reached out to DHS and have not heard back. Channel 13 also reached out to Cindy and Amanda Holt and did not hear back.
Channel 13 personally looked through the list of hundreds of in-home day cares in Polk County and could not find one under Cindy Holt’s name or other aliases, but DHS does not require day cares to be registered if they have five or fewer children.
These post all started on Sunday, her most recent attempt at an ad on Facebook was Wednesday afternoon.
Holt could be one of the 50,000 Iowans listed on the Child Abuse Registry list, but that is also not available for the public to view.