A Wausau-area day care provider was charged with six counts of child neglect after investigators accused her of repeatedly leaving seven babies and toddlers alone and unsupervised.
Rhonda S. Piehl
, 35, was charged after detectives and social workers investigated a complaint filed by a relative of one of the children in Piehl's care. The relative told police that on April 14
, she went to pick up the child at Piehl's home and found no adults present
. The woman stayed until Piehl returned and then notified authorities.
On April 23
, a Marathon County Sheriff's Department detective and a social worker went to the home to investigate and reported finding seven children between the ages of 11 months and 4 years alone inside.
Six children were in a living room that was blocked from other rooms with step ladders and step stools and the seventh was sleeping in an adjacent room, police said.
The investigators were at the home for about 20 minutes before Piehl returned, according to court records.
Piehl told the detective that she had to run several errands in town and that she had left the children home alone about five times in the past
, the complaint said. Piehl said her husband works long hours and she doesn't know many people in the area who could watch the kids for her.
"It's a bad decision on my part and sometimes you have to do what you have to do," WTF??
Piehl told the detective, according to the complaint.
Police ordered that the parents of all children Piehl watched be contacted and informed that the infants and toddlers no longer could be brought to the home.
Piehl, a mother of three children 14 years and younger, is not allowed to provide day care to children other than her own, or to have contact with the children or the families of her former clients, as a condition of her bond. Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Greg Grau ordered a $750 signature bond on the charges, each of which carries a maximum sentence of up to nine months in jail.
Piehl is not a licensed day care provider, according to police and online state records.