Arson investigation: Molotov cocktail found outside N.C. daycare where employee accused of sexual assault

Arson investigation: Molotov cocktail found outside Wendell day care where employee accused of...
Arson investigation: Molotov cocktail found outside Wendell day care where employee accused of sexual assault(WRAL)
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:37 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WENDELL, N.C. (WRAL) - An arson investigation is underway after a fire broke out Tuesday night at ABC Land daycare in Wendell.

The center is already under investigation after multiple families complained their 3-year-olds were sexually assaulted by the same employee.

Wendell police are currently investigating the fire as arson after what was described as a “Molotov” cocktail was found outside the daycare in the driveway.

Fire crews and police responded to the fire at ABC Land on Raymond Drive shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, where they found “a bottle containing a flammable chemical was located near the building.”

A wine bottle could be seen in the driveway of the daycare, and police were dusting the bottle for fingerprints. The top of the wine bottle appeared to be scorched with what may have been the burned cork sticking out the top.

Police said minimal damage was caused to the building, and the daycare was operating at normal hours on Wednesday.

Fire crews didn’t leave the scene until shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday.

If anyone has information regarding this incident, they are encouraged to call Sergeant Williams at 919-355-4297.

On Wednesday, WRAL News reached out to ABC Land owner Lorraine Dixon. She declined an interview.

A neighbor who lives near the daycare but did not want to be named called the arson damage “unsettling.”

The daycare is also under a separate investigation by the State Bureau of Investigations for reports of sexual abuse after multiple complaints were made against an employee.

Officers began their investigation into the daycare on Jan. 4, when multiple people reported an employee sexually assaulted their children.

Almost a week later, police received a third sex assault complaint against the same employee.

“My 3-year-old told me that he was touched in a private area by a male employee at naptime,” said one of the mothers who filed a police report. “I confronted the owner and she denied it. To my knowledge today, the employee is still at the daycare.”

Wendell police Capt. John Slaughter told WRAL News there were three children involved, and all were 3 years old.

The SBI said investigations are ongoing, but no charges have been filed.

ABC Land sent a letter to families, which read in part:

“We are dealing with serious allegations against one of our employees ... We did receive this complaint last week and started taking measures to inform the agencies that handle situations involving childcare complaints.”

The letter stated that ABC Land received an unannounced visit on Monday, Jan. 9, from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

ABC Land wrote, “All allegations are taken seriously with the investigation following the procedures required by the state.”

Stay with WMBF for updates.