Her Toddler Was Acting Strange, So Mom Planted A Hidden Camera

A very young and happy family

The Matneys were overjoyed when their first daughter, Raylee, was born in Springdale, Arkansas in 2011. They lived a simple life, but were extremely content, things couldn’t have been better for them.

Time to go back

As their daughter got older, Whitney had to go back to law school, so they decided they had to get someone to take care of their daughter. Chris was also working full-time so could not stay at home. They would need to get a nanny, but they had to find someone that they trusted with their pride and joy.

The search for a nanny began

Whitney proceeded to take on the difficult task of finding the right person with whom they can trust their daughter. They needed to look at their credentials and make sure that they could trust them. After all they wanted to feel secure that when they left for work each morning that their daughter would be looked after and also happy- this was very important.

Hesitant but determined

Just before Raylee turned one in 2012, Chris and Whitney had a very hard time, and really struggled with coming to terms the thought of  having to leave behind their baby daughter with a complete stranger. Would they miss her most important moments? What if she called the nanny mom? Although a bit hesitant, Whitney was relieved when one of her friends responded to her post on Facebook.

Could she be the one?

Eventually after a rigorous interview process, the Matneys decided to try Melissa Medema, also from Springdale, Arkansas, who was recommended to them through a friend. She had the perfect credentials for the job and she had what seemed a good credibility based on background checks. She also had strong references.

Could she be the one?

But they could not totally be sure that all would be ok while they were away at work, they just had to hope for the best and trust their gut. What if they ended up regretting the decision they made? This thought kept nagging at her, they did not want their little girl to be miserable.

Everything seems fine

Melissa seemed like she loved the job and that made the feel at ease. She also seemed to really love the baby girl and was passionate about taking care of her. And because Melissa was charming to Raylee, the little girl quickly warmed up to her. This was all a mother could ask for.

Everything seems fine

Melissa and one-year-old Raylee got along swimmingly. According to Whitney, her little girl really seemed to like her new friend and minder. Soon, Melissa was hired. Whitney could now go to law school and Chris to his work confident that the apple of his eye had someone she enjoyed being around with when they were gone. Everything seemed to be going well as planned for the Matney’s.

Something’s not quite right

Call it parental instinct, but parents always seem to know when something’s not right with their children. Whitney just knew in her gut, in her core and intuition that Melissa might be someone who she shouldn’t really trust. There were sure fire telltale signs of Raylee’s behavior that’s making Whitney uneasy about hiring Melissa in the first place.

Something’s not quite right

Since day one, Whitney became suspicious. According to her, “The day Melissa started working there, when I cross the threshold into her bedroom she (Raylee) just started screaming. And I just thought, you know, she’s tired, she’s getting sick.”

Something’s not quite right

What’s even more suspicious was the fact that Raylee, according to Melissa, was having four-hour naps which never happened before. Whitney maintained that her daughter only napped an hour to an hour and a half, but never four hours. She thought that, maybe, Melissa had been giving her Benadryl to put her to sleep. But she quickly dismissed the thought as something crazy a first-time mom would perhaps be thinking.

Even more dramatic changes in Raylee’s behavior

It’s heartbreaking for parents when their kids are too young to actually tell them what’s wrong with them, such as the case with Raylee, who had just turned one, so it was a guessing game, a painful one at that. Raylee could be going through some traumatic experiences at the hands of Melissa and they had no idea.

Even more dramatic changes in Raylee’s behavior

Whitney also noticed that whenever she would come home from law school, she would find the house spotless, perfectly clean. “I know that when I watch Raylee, I can get approximately a half of a room clean before I have to help her with stuff, especially at that point in time,” she said.

Something not adding up

She added, “I didn’t understand how she could be cleaning so much and so well, while still attending to all of Raylee’s needs.” Could Melissa be cleaning to cover her tracks? Whitney’s mind started whirling and wondering what was going on. She wanted to tell herself that she was being paranoid but she just felt that she wasn’t and that she needed to find out what was making her think this way. It was time to be proactive.

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Changes that they simply couldn’t ignore

The Matneys thought that the drastic changes in their child’s behavior were something they just couldn’t ignore, it seemed to coincidental that these happened as soon as Melissa started working for them. For them, they were almost certain that Melissa was trying to hide something and they could not risk waiting any longer to find out.

They’ve had enough

The straw that broke the camel’s bak, came about two weeks into Melissa’s employment with them, when Raylee would run screaming to her parents and cling tightly to them whenever Melissa arrived for the day’s work. According to their doctor, it could have just been separation anxiety, but Whitney felt something bad was really happening to their child, and it was a mother’s sense.

Time to spy on the nanny

Finally she created a plan, Whitney set up  a clock-radio nanny cam in their living room to spy on Melissa, hoping, really hoping that she would be wrong, but she feared she would find something she did not want to find. What the video revealed was any parent’s worst nightmare.

The jig is up


The day the nanny cam started recording videos of what’s happening when the Matneys were away, Whitney got all the evidence she needed against Melissa. She felt sick to her core when she discovered what the nanny had been doing to the child.

Horrifying realization

When Whitney went to get the nanny cam in the living room to watch what had been recorded for the day, she was shocked to find the device was facing the wall. Did that mean that Melissa discovered that it was a spy cam all along? But just what did that nanny cam manage to capture? Whitney couldn’t wait to find out, but was also very nervous.

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It turned out that the camera, even being turned to face the wall, was able to record shocking and heart-breaking evidence of what the seemingly nanny was doing to their child, the love of their lives. This nanny did a lot of worry-some things to Raylee more than just leave her in her bouncer all by herself for long periods of time.

A harrowing footage

What Whitney discovered next left her speechless and brought her to tears: Melissa was captured physically hurting Raylee. She spanked her and shook her violently like she was a rag doll. Raylee was helpless, and all she could do was wait until the physical abuse was over.

She sought immediate medical attention

After seeing the shocking footage, Whitney immediately called the police and showed them the footage against Melissa. In her rage, she was determined to press charges against the nanny. She could not believe what she had done to her child and felt such an overwhelming sense of guilt.

Worrying hospital inspection

She then rushed Raylee to the hospital for fear that her barely one-year-old daughter may have sustained injuries from the physical abuse. Not to mention psychological scarring. All she could think about was the other abuses Melissa could have done to the child before the nanny cam was installed. Would this come out later in her life?

Emotional impact

The Matneys felt a sigh of great relief to find out that Raylee had no sign of any physical injuries despite the violent physical abuse she’d experienced with the nanny from hell. But they would not be able to know if what she went through at the hands of the evil nanny would have negative emotional and psychological impact on her.

Justice served

When Melissa arrived at the Matneys to continue her work two days later, she was immediately arrested by the police officers who stood waiting for her inside the house. The video was enough evidence to arrest her, but will she finally pay for her crime?

Not enough for her crime

The Matneys were hoping that the court would carry out a harsh punishment for Melissa. However, due to the absence of physical injury, Melissa was allowed to plead guilty to endangering the welfare of a minor, which is a class D felony in the state of Arkansas. All she’d been given was a 90-day jail time with three years of probation. The Matneys were raging with anger, they wanted more justice than this, and even more, they didn’t want her roaming free and able to do this to another child.

A first-time offender

What is even more shocking than the light 90-day jail sentence was that, as a first-time offender who pleaded guilty to the charges against her, her record could be totally wiped out, after her three-year probation. This means that after three years, she would be able to work as a nanny again. This was injustice.

A mother’s passionate rage

The law which allowed Melissa’s record to be completely wiped out after three years is most definitely a controversial one. But Whitney was not ok about this. She was horrified and angry and sad over this light punishment that Melissa got for what she did to her poor innocent baby. In one of her press statements, she even called Melissa a “monster.” She decided to take matters into her own hands as she went out on a mission to save other families who may have been through a similar situation.

A quest to change the law

In her determination to help save other families, Whitney, who now works at the Bickett and Trentham Law Partners in Arkansas, set up  her own campaign, to create an online registry for families whose child have been a victim of abuse by a nanny or caregiver. So that it would forever be on file.

Working hard for a cause

She began working tirelessly night and day with Rep. Greg Leding and Sen. Jon Woods on a bill which would introduce the registry in all states of the U.S. She was desperate to get parents all over the country to support the bill so that they can check before leaving their children with a babysitter. She was determined that no child should ever experience what her own daughter went through and she endeavored to make sure this would not happen.

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A hardened crook

Melissa has completed her prison time and the media was constantly following her. But she refused to give her comments about the incident. She even contacted one of the media outlets and told them that she didn’t like that she was being followed home. She warned them not to come back to her residence and that they should not contact her anymore.

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Her old self

Fortunately for the Matneys,  the worst is over for them. Raylee is now back to her old self – happy and healthy. She’s now attending school and making friends like other normal kids do. But how many other families are out there who are yet to find out their babysitter’s dark secrets? It is sad to think that traumas such as these some parents are not aware of until their children grow up and it presents itself in different ways.

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