Chris and Whitney Matney
Chris and Whitney Matney were thrilled when they welcomed their baby girl, Raylee, into the world. They always wanted to be parents, and the Springdale, Arkansas couple’s dream came true in 2011.
As Raylee got older, Whitney started thinking about returning the law school. She didn’t want to be away from her daughter, but she knew that Raylee was old enough that Whitney could spend some time away from her. Whitney thought that if she could find a person she could trust with her daughter, everything would work out fine.
Searching For Child Care
Whitney wanted to find the perfect nanny. She was worried about leaving Raylee with a stranger, so she advertised for a nanny on her Facebook page. She figured that one of her Facebook friends or the friend of a friend would be a trustworthy person. A former high school classmate of Whitney’s, Melissa Medema, reached out to Whitney, telling her that she was interested in the position. Whitney thought that it was perfect since she already knew Melissa.
Despite the fact that Whitney knew Michelle, she was still a bit worried. She had seen the horror stories on the news about nannies stealing from families, abusing children, and various other horrors. Whitney worried about these things, but she was sure that since she knew Michelle, that Raylee would be in good hands.
Checking On Melissa
Whitney wanted to be sure that she was choosing the right person for the job, so she started by checking out looking at her Facebook profile. She didn’t see any red flags, so she called Melissa’s reference. The person gave Melissa a glowing recommendation, so Whitney asked Melissa to meet.
The next step was for Melissa to come to Whitney’s home to meet Raylee. When Michelle and Raylee hit it off right away, Whitney was thrilled. She didn’t think that she had anything to worry about.
The First Day
When Whitney’s first day of school came, she was excited but a bit scared. She didn’t like leaving her daughter, but she knew that it was best for their family. When Melissa arrived at the home, Whitney and Chris went their separate ways, trusting that they were leaving their daughters in good hands.
When Chris and Whitney first got home, everything seemed fine. The house was in order, and Raylee was clean and happy to see her parents. It wasn’t until after Melissa left that Raylee started acting strange. When Whitney went into her daughter’s bedroom, she would scream and cry. She seemed afraid when someone approached her. Whitney hoped that Raylee was just tired. She had no reason to suspect Melissa, so she assumed that maybe her daughter had to get used to her being away.
As time went on, Raylee seemed to be always tired. Melissa told Whitney that Raylee would take four-hour naps, which was a lot for a child her age. They were thinking about seeking help from a specialist. After a visit to the doctor, Raylee got a clean bill of health. The doctor told Whitney that it could just be separation anxiety. Whitney’s mind wasn’t at ease, and she still didn’t understand what was wrong with her daughter. When Melissa came to the home, Raylee acted terrified. Whitney was sure that it wasn’t a symptom of separation anxiety, so she decided to figure out what was wrong.
Whitney went out and bought a nanny cam that was hidden in a clock radio. She placed it in the living room where it could record everything. Whitney hoped that the camera would help answer her questions. When she got home later that day, Whitney noticed that the camera was turned toward the wall. Did Melissa realize that it was a nanny cam?
Her Worst Fears
When Whitney watched the footage, her worst fears came true. Melissa left Raylee in the baby jumper for over two hours with nothing to eat or drink. She also spanked Riley and shook her so violently that Raylee appeared dizzy. Whitney was outraged and took her daughter to the hospital immediately. When Raylee got a clean bill of health, Whitney and Chris called the police.
When Melissa showed up for work the next day, the police came and arrested her. Melissa was charged with a Class D felony. She was sentenced to three years in jail. The police told Whitney that if she didn’t catch Melissa on camera when she did, the results could have been tragic. When a baby kept acting strange, mom hid a camera to find out why, and she is lucky that she did.