Finding the right babysitter, a person to whom you can entrust your child’s safety, is a daunting task, and a decision that should never be taken likely. Even in this increasingly transparent world, where everyone’s deeds and flaws are exposed to the world on the internet, it’s still possible to miss something.
The Matney family were looking for a sitter, someone kind and reliable they could bring on to serve as their nanny when they both had to work. Melissa seemed like the perfect candidate…
Family Life Begins
Chris and Whitney Matney of Springdale, Arizona, started their journey to parenthood in 2011 when their first daughter, Raylee, was born. It was a big day for their little family and a moment that had been a long time coming. Things couldn’t have been better for them.
Whitney, however, had dreams of going back to law school. Raylee, as perfect and beautiful as she was, would prove to be a slight hindrance to that dream: mainly because Chris was also working full time. The two settled on finding a full-time babysitter, a nanny if you will, to care for Raylee when the two were at work…
Of course, finding someone reliable to take care of your children, especially someone who can be there for the better part of the day while you’re both at work, is no mean feat. Before she could even consider law school, Whitney began the arduous task of hiring a proper nanny.
Her Mrs. Doubtfire-style search for a nanny was rife with poor choices and clowns, punctuated by the occasional solid candidate. The more she looked, the more it seemed that this idea might not work out. Raylee was so young. Could she really leave her in the care of a stranger?
Just as the young mother began to contemplate the futility of finding a proper, trustworthy nanny, a voice from her past made contact. Whitney’s former high school classmate, Melissa Medema, saw her post on facebook and reached out to her about the job.
She responded, “I’m very interested. Do you mind if I meet with you?” It was a simple enough request and Whitney made sure to do some research on Medema first, just in case. She found only good references and even got a glowing recommendation from a former employer. Now it was time to meet Raylee…
They Got Along
She decided to bring Melissa over to the house to meet Raylee to see if it was a good fit. The two hit it off, she talked to Raylee and played with her. Raylee seemed to take to her almost immediately. It seemed like such a good fit.
Melissa had solid references, a great personality, and there was a bit of familiarity between them, Whitney thought she’d found the perfect candidate. She hired her later that week. Unfortunately for her and little Raylee, she soon found out that Melissa was not the woman she thought she was…
A few weeks after hiring the nanny, Whitney and her husband Chris noticed Raylee was starting to behave very differently. She seemed skittish around them and there was a marked increase in her visible anxiety. Something definitely wasn’t right.
Whitney remembered the day that Melissa had started working there and it hit him. The moment she’d crossed the threshold into her bedroom that night, Raylee just started screaming. At first she’d thought that the one year old was just tired, or maybe getting sick…
The Matneys noticed that whenever the nanny showed up, Raylee would run to them screaming and hide behind their legs. It was getting to the point where they suspected that Melissa was doing something to Raylee when they were away: they just couldn’t prove it.
Whitney decided to purchase a nanny cam and set it up in their living room. She hooked it up and had Melissa come over. But the first night she left the sitter alone with her daughter, she came home to a camera that had been tampered with. It was an immediate red flag…
“I looked over and I saw the camera sitting there. And it was facing the wall. I immediately — my heart just leapt in my throat,” said Whitney. The nanny must have been guilty, why else would she have turned the camera toward the wall once discovered?
The clip on the camera showed Medema leaving Raylee in her bouncer for several hours at a time. It also showed her spanking her and even violently shaking her before she noticed the nanny cam and turned it towards the wall. She had stared right into the lens, she wasn’t ashamed at all…
“You see these horror stories on TV and it’s a surreal feeling when it happens to you,” Whitney said after the event occurred. She and Chris immediately called the police. They waited for two days to set up the sting, however, they didn’t want the nasty nanny to skip town before she was caught.
Two days later, Melissa Medema showed up for work and was greeted by a pair or irate parents and several police officers. She was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Unfortunately, this meant that she would only spend 90 days in jail: and that wasn’t the worst of it…
After spending a maximum of three months in jail, Medema would have to spend a further three years on probation: but that was it. After her probation was over, her record would be cleared of all the charges against her. All that she had done to little Raylee and God knows who else would be forgiven and forgotten.
“The fact that this monster…there’s no other way to describe her, you know…if this monster can walk around, watch other children and have no ramifications at the end of four years, it’s just beyond insane,” said Whitney. She was determined that Medema should never be allowed to watch any other children ever again…
The vengeful mother had learned her lesson. You can’t take anyone at face value, especially not when it comes to your kids. She began speaking out to help prevent other parents from hiring the wrong caregivers. She has even started working to create a public child-abuse registry to weed out individuals like Medema.
Keep Others Safe
She says that she is trying to keep other people from being subjected to people like Medema and others who have been caught doing this type of thing in the past and had their records expunged. Her goal is to track them all down and reveal the truth to the world. It is her belief that if they are outed, parents and children will be safer overall.