Whitney and Chris Matney were new parents and they had no idea of the terrible mistake they would make after hiring a woman who would take care of their child. They did know this woman and they felt betrayed. What Whitney found shock her, but it also shocked the rest of the world. It will change what you think about hiring babysitters. A mother’s intuition never fails and that is how Whitney Matney was able to find out the truth about who she hired. This mother’s instincts saved her daughter’s life.
In 2011, Whitney and Chris Matney were waiting for the birth of their baby girl. When she arrived, they decided to name her Raylee. She was beautiful, healthy, and they were so excited to start their life as a family in Springdale, Arkansas.
Eventually, Whitney had to go back to law school. She would be separated from her new baby for a few hours each day.
Life Goes On
Chris went back to work and realized that once his wife resumed schooling, they would need to hire a babysitter for when they were away. Whitney agreed because she always dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
The couple started searching for a sitter to help take care of Raylee. Whitney and Chris did not know that they would be living a nightmare after hiring one.
A New Candidate?
Whitney looked through hundreds of options so she can find the best match for her family. She took lots of precautions when she decided on a familiar face for the job.
When she put the ad on Facebook, a former high school classmate reached out to her. Her name was Melissa Medma. Whitney agreed to have Medma meet the family since she was a familiar face in a crowd of strangers.
Starting the Screening Process
Whitney still screened people because she wanted the best person to take care of her daughter. When she was screening Melissa, Whitney felt like she knew her well because of her social media page. Whitney even got in touch with Melissa’s references.
All of them had rave reviews about Melissa. Whitney was happy so she decided to have Raylee meet Melissa and she would be the deciding factor.
Meeting for the First Time
When Melissa finally met Raylee, things went amazingly! Melissa and Raylee had a wonderful time together. This made Whitney very happy.
She did not have any reason to worry now. She decided to offer Melissa the job.
The First Day
With the babysitter all picked out, Whitney was excited to go back to school since it’s been a few months since she stepped into a classroom. She was still nervous leaving her baby alone, even though she vetted Melissa. When Melissa arrived for her first day, the couple said their goodbyes and went about their day.
When they arrived home, they saw that everything was still standing. They had no reason to be worried! Raylee was her usual happy self, but looks can be deceiving. Later in the evening, they started getting Raylee ready for bed. Then she started acting strangely. Every time Whitney would enter her room, she would start crying. Raylee seemed afraid of her own mother.
Is There Something Wrong with Raylee?
Whitney was confused because she had no idea why Raylee’s behavior was suddenly different. She tried to think of all the reasons that this could happen. Maybe she was coming down with a bug? Or she did not sleep that well during her nap today?
Even though she was worried, Whitney tried to write it off. She did not even think that it had anything to do with how Melissa treated Raylee that day. When Melissa left earlier, she seemed like everything was okay! She brushed it off figuring her daughter was getting used to the babysitter. She pushed her feelings aside for a bit. Who knew that these feelings would keep getting worse and worse.
Whitney still went to school and Chris continued to go to work every day. Melissa was spending more time with Raylee. Whitney noticed that her baby girl was taking long naps, almost three more hours! Not sure what was going on, Whitney was trying to understand why she was so tired.
Since she was a first-time mom, she knew the characteristics of her daughter very well. Since she wanted to double check, she decided to take Raylee to the doctors for a physical exam. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with her physically.
Whitney explained to her doctor that she recently went back to school after staying home with Raylee for months. She told the doctor that her they recently hired a sitter. After everything was laid out for the doctor, he explained that Raylee could be experiencing separation anxiety. It happens in toddlers and young children; they start showing signs around six months old. Usually, it occurs when the child shows lots of anxiety when one or both of the parents try to leave for any amount of time.
The problem lasts until a child can be well over two years old. Some children never experience it, but they still do cry and scream when their parents are not near them. It also impacts a child’s sleep schedule. Whitney figured that this was wrong with Raylee.
More Signs Start To Show
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 she wanted to get to the bottom of what Melissa was doing to her daughter.
Setting Everything Up
Whitney decided to install a nanny cam, which would 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.
The Final Day
Melissa arrived as planned and Whitney attends 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.
Changing The Position
When Melissa left for the day, Whitney rushed over to the camera. She found that it was in a completely different position then from where she 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.
What They Saw Was Shocking
On the tapes, it was shown that Melissa was treating Raylee like she was not even human. The first thing Whitney 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 has been through.
Before Melissa turned the nanny cam away, it was able to record quite a bit. It recorded Melissa beating Raylee violently.
The spanking was meant to make Raylee stop crying. The cries eventually went from pain to panic. That 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.
Shaken Baby Injury
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.
Racing to the Hospital
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 of the evidence presented to them, 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.
Just a Normal Day
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, who was watching the entire ordeal outside her home, recorded how it went down with her camera. She knew that Melissa would get what she deserved.
From Bad to Worse
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 was over, her record would be clean.
This Mom is Determined
Whitney was furious that someone like Melissa could get away with a terrible crime so easily. 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 shared the details of the story.
Digging a Little Deeper
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 world involved. Whitney was inspired by what was happening with the movement that she sent out a bill.
Starting to Gain Momentum
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.
Does Melissa Have a Comment?
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.
Was Raylee Alright?
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. There are many predators still out there would have yet to take responsibility for their horrible actions.
When Hiring Nannies
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 like 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 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.
Here Are Some Rules to Follow
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, you might want to think about 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.
The original story is from Knowledge Dish. Thank you for the pictures and information!