WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The husband and wife owners of a West Des Moines in-home daycare are now facing child neglect and drug charges.
Robert Mackey, 55, and Paula Mackey, 48, were booked into the Polk County Jail around 2:00 am on Friday. The Mackeys are each charged with five felony counts of Neglect or Abandonment of a Dependent Person, a misdemeanor drug charge, and a misdemeanor charge for Operating a Child Development Home Without Authority.
The Mackeys have been under investigation since June according to Sgt. Dan Wade with the West Des Moines Police Department.
According to online court records, the Department of Human Services began investigating the Mackeys and their unregistered in-home daycare “Tender Moments” back in June. Paula Mackey reportedly admitted that they cared for as many as 19 children in their home with three adults supervising. Mackey was told she couldn’t have more than five children in an unlicensed daycare but days later DHS employees again spotted at least 13 children being left at the home.
West Des Moines Police then executed a search warrant on the Mackey home. Inside they reportedly found firearms within reach of sleeping children. Police found 22 guns inside the Mackey home, along with a bag of knives and marijuana.
No charges were filed at that time.
The criminal complaints about the child neglect charges say, “The defendant did commit neglect or abandonment of dependent person by having ammunition, tools to make ammunition, handguns and long guns in an area where the daycare children were present and had access.”