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Waco daycare owner, employee heading to court over alleged child abuse at facility

Recorded video showed evidence of abuse against six children, ranging from 10 months to 2 years old, according to the arrest affidavits.

WACO, Texas — The video above was published in June 2017.

A Waco home daycare owner and one of her employees will be headed to court Tuesday, five years after they were indicted on charges linked to what police described as repeated abuse inside the facility.

Pepper Jones, who owned Miss Pepper's Place, and her employee Britany Starr Hale, were arrested after the two turned themselves in in June 2017. Jones was indicted on one count of injury to a child and six counts of endangering a child, according to a previous 6 News article. Hale was only indicted on six counts of injury to a child.

The two will appear before a judge in the 54th District Court at 11:30 a.m.

The reason for the five-year delay in this trial is due to shutdowns and postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Story continues below.

RELATED: Waco home daycare owner and employee indicted for child abuse, police say

Credit: Waco PD
Pepper Jones, left, Britany Starr Hale, right, mugshots.

According to the arrest affidavits released earlier in 2017, Waco Police Detectives reviewed a week's worth of video recordings from a home security system that could see a portion of the inside of the daycare. The recordings showed evidence of abuse against six children, ranging from 10 months to 2 years old, according to the affidavits.

"There were numerous incidents of injury to a child captured on the video recordings, and [Jones] failed to take action to stop the injuries," Detective Kimberly Clark wrote in the affidavits. 

Detectives claim Jones dislocated a 2-year-old boy's shoulder and fractured his elbow on April 3, 2017. According to the affidavits, investigators believe those injuries occurred during a nine-minute window that was not caught on camera.

"There is a nine-minute time frame where the victim is not in the video, but comes back into the video area and his demeanor has completely changed," Detective Clark wrote. "The victim sits on a bench and holds his arm and does not move his arm."

The affidavits stated a text message from Jones to a parent -- who was not the boy's parent -- acknowledged that "I messed with his arm and it popped."

On a different day, the same boy was shown on video being hit on the butt by Hale, the affidavits said.

"The victim sits on the floor to put the toy in the toy bin, and then [Hale] grabs the victim on both sides of the head, pulling him up off the floor to make him stand," Clark wrote.

Several other examples of abuse were captured on video, according to police.

The affidavits said Hale placed a 2-year-old girl "in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment" when Hale grabbed her by the back of the head and used her hair to pull her forward on the floor. A day later, Hale grabbed a 23-month-old girl by her 'pig tail' with enough force to move the girl and cause the girl to fall to her knees before using the girl's hair to move her until she put a toy away, the affidavits said. Another situation captured on video showed Hale dragging a 1-year-old girl across the room by her ear to put a toy away, according to the affidavits.

"You can see the victim wince in pain as she is being pulled by her ear," Clark wrote.

Yet another example from the video footage showed Hale shove a 2-year-old girl off a bench and onto the floor, according to the affidavits.

"[Hale] uses enough force that causes the victim's neck to snap back as she is falling to the floor," Detective Clark wrote.

In another piece of footage, [Hale] picked up a 10-month-old girl by her left arm and forcefully grabbed her hand, snapping the girl's head up with force, the affidavits stated.

"The victim is crying during and after the incident," Detective Clark stated.

Jones agreed to shut down the daycare when police began their investigation, and the facility has remained closed since. 

Stay with 6 News as this story develops.

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