GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- A day care provider in Golden Valley has been charged with malicious punishment of a child and false imprisonment.
Authorities say Arvilla Meinhardt, 70, used large safety pins with plastic animal heads to help discipline the children she cared for. According to the criminal complaint, she demonstrated to detectives how she used the pins to create a type of straight jacket on the children.
Officers were tipped off by a woman whose daughter attended Meinhardt's daycare up the age of four. The girl allegedly told her mother Meinhardt would use those safety pins to attach her to the mattress during nap time.
Detectives went to Meinhardt's home last Thursday to follow up on the allegations. They found Meinhardt and her husband at home. There were six to seven children in the play area. Several infants were found in cribs in a bedroom.
Authorities found a pair of pajamas on the floor with pin holes in them. A search of the home turned up other pajamas with similar holes.
According to the criminal complaint, she told officers she would take the child's arms out of the sleeves and then pin the sleeves behind the child's back, creating a straight jacket. Meinhardt also says she would pin the child's pajama legs together at the calves to restrict movement. The zippers on the pajamas were also pinned so the child couldn't get out.
Mienhardt allegedly told officers she used this type of punishment on 2- to 3-year-old children she watched for the past eight years.
Authorities say the parents of the children were not told about this type of punishment.