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Prosecutors to Review 'Nanny Cam' Case

Posted February 28, 2008
Updated March 2, 2008

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— Cary police have given Wake County prosecutors video of a nanny handling twin infants roughly so they can determine if charges are warranted.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Thursday that police had submitted the Feb. 11 surveillance video to his office to determine whether to charge Stephanie Merrill, 26, of Cary.

Police Chief Pat Bazemore said investigators were waiting for Lindsay Addison to turn over all the video before deciding whether to close the case.

"The fact that we are investigating it, additionally, now that we have the information does not necessarily meant there will be charges," she said.

Addison installed a hidden camera in January to monitor the activities of her 7-month-old twins, Gavin and Bryce, when she went back to work. The twins, who were born prematurely, were not healthy enough to go to day care.

Addison said Thursday she was glad the district attorney's office is now looking into it and that she believes the behavior on the tape is not appropriate.

"I just really don't feel that she needs to have another child-care position, especially with small children – infants," Addison said. "And if this prevents her from doing that, by all means, it's fine with me."

The video showed Merrill leaving one infant unattended on the couch and the other falling from her chest into the side of the couch as she works a television remote control.

In another video, Merrill is holding one child upside-down and grabbing and moving the twins by their sleepers.

Addison said she confronted Merrill about her actions and fired her the same day she watched the real-time video on her computer at work.

Police reviewed the tape and interviewed Merrill. At the time, they determined the treatment did not rise to the level of a crime.

"What is abuse in one person's eyes, may not be in someone else's," Addison said.

The video has attracted national media attention, including coverage on CNN's "Nancy Grace" and CBS's "The Early Show" –coverage Bazemore said has been a frustrating point in the investigation.

"In this particular case, we did not get this information before the media got the information. We did not investigate this case the way we normally would," Bazemore said.

Merrill declined to comment on the matter Thursday in an e-mail to WRAL.

"I have nothing to say to you. If the state [sic] DA is looking into this, then they [sic] can ask me questions and I will answer there [sic] questions only," she wrote in the e-mail. "I do not wish to speak with any news reporters. Do not contact me about this matter again."

107 Comments

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  • atozca Feb 29, 3:58 p.m.

    We are governed by what we allow. While the nanny's choices weren't wise, I don't consider them criminal. If charges are pressed and she is indicted, that means if you are witnessed leaving your child unattended on the sofa or holding your child in an unapproved method... you could be criminally charged! Is that what we think is best?

  • GIGATT Feb 29, 3:44 p.m.

    "I suppose for most you commenting that the only way the nanny should be prosecuted is if the baby had been hurt."

    Are you sure you want ignorance and laziness to be considered a crime? Stop taking things to the extreme. Why do some of you feel the need to blow this situation up into more than it is? How would you like to be judged?

  • GIGATT Feb 29, 3:23 p.m.

    Eduardo1....does exaggeration and over reacting ring a bell? Could the nanny use a child training class, yes. Does she deserve to have stones thrown at her over the internet, no.

    WRAL...you couldn't release the nanny's identity before because she was never charged with anything. She still hasn't been charged with anything but you released her identity anyway. What happened?

  • jooles Feb 29, 3:02 p.m.

    I suppose for most you commenting that the only way the nanny should be prosecuted is if the baby had been hurt. I'd rather her be caught BEFORE something happened, which, thankfully, she did. Again, this is like comparing it to letting a kid run around in the road and ONLY if he gets hit by a car would it constitute neglect. Something is really wrong with society when most of you are desensitized to behavior like this.

  • Arkansas Razorback Feb 29, 2:38 p.m.

    I think the nanny was a little too interested in the television. I also think the mother is a little bit to blame for hiring an overweight nanny. People who are that overweight are usually very lazy. I don't think she is guilty of anything except laziness. She cuddled and kissed the babies so I don't think she would have hurt them intentially. This is a mountain out of a mole-hill situation.

  • Eduardo1 Feb 29, 1:53 p.m.

    I only read the 1st 10 comments before I posted my own, I should have gone further before tat post. Because as I went further it looks like more of you would only settle for an injury to the children as a means of something wrong. Does the term ENDANGERMENT ring any bells. Carrying the baby up the stairs like a sack of potatoes, possible to hit the head on the railing (endangerment) baby tumbling almost off of the couch and laying on its face as the nanny walked pass without even looking, baby could have sufacated (endangerment) for those who see noting wrong in tis video, would you trust her wit your infants? if your answer is yes, then you need parenting classes.

  • GetRight Feb 29, 1:52 p.m.

    When it comes to caring for our 4 children we have ONE family we trust enough to leave our kids with.

    Does that cramp our lifestyle? You have no idea!

    Would we consider loosening our value system and start hiring teenage babysitters? Nope.

    When our 11 year old reaches 13 or 14 we will probably hire an adult to babysit so my wife and I can go on some dates but until then we take our role as parents very seriously and refuse to relegate it another for barely a moment. It's all about the choices we make.

  • Justin T. Feb 29, 1:52 p.m.

    Good comment from hondaman. The kids weren't hurt and from watching the clips I am not outraged at the nanny's behavior. I would hate to see parents and babysitters start going to jail for being a little slack. That's pretty far from criminal negligence.

  • GetRight Feb 29, 1:47 p.m.

    I am a loving father of 4 very healthy, well-adjusted kids. I watched about 5 minutes of the videos. The only thing I saw her do wrong was to leave the babies unattended on the sofa.

    Picking them up by the front of their clothes... I do that with my 2 and 6 year olds to this day.

    Carrying them like a football under the arm... what's the point? The only real risk there is bumping their head while walking with them. You'd have to be really careful.

    Unless this young woman did something terrible after I quit watching I say leave her alone. The truth is that the mother should be home with her babies, not a low paid hired person. The situations where a married woman HAS to work are few and far between compared with the # of working women in the world today. Throw rocks if you want to but I was earning $12/hour 3 years ago and had a wife and 4 children at home and bought a house. We made sacrifices but we wouldn't have it any other way.

    People have to consider the pros & cons.

  • Eduardo1 Feb 29, 1:36 p.m.

    Hard to believe some of your comments: "babies need therapy" "comment about the weight of the nanny" can not judge by one days video" Do we judge by just one murder? do we judge by just one rape. Of course we judge by just one any one action if we are "lucky" enough to catch it for a first time. Who amongst the in favor of cutting the nanny loose, would have their babies or grandbabies alone in their home with no camera or even with a camera. If you would, try to get her to sit for yours. I would not leave the room to go to the bathroom, knowing that she is in with my granchild

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