Local News

Prosecutors to Review 'Nanny Cam' Case

Posted February 28, 2008 4:05 p.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2008 5:23 p.m. EST

— 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."