Court paperwork reveals an ongoing custody battle for the children of the woman who owns the Knox County daycare where two twins drowned last week.
The petition for custody was filed by Jennifer Salley’s parents Tim and Barbara in 2015. They say Jennifer Salley adopted the two children in Florida, but left them with her parents in 2012 when adoption assistance payments were terminated.
“[Jennifer Salley] left the children with [her parents] in February, 2012, stating that she did not want them, did not want them, and she wanted her life,” read the filing. It goes on to say both children lived with their grandparents until July 2013 when Jennifer Salley started receiving payments again and moved to Knoxville.
The grandparents say they haven’t seen the children very often since then except a few limited weekend visits, during which the grandparents said the children said they didn’t want to go back to their mother and details accounts of being spanked multiple times in a short period, being forced to take cold showers and eat dog biscuits as forms punishment.
The documents also note that when the grnadparents took the kids to a school doctor in July 2014, he noticed some concerning marks on one of the children and called Child Protective Services and the police. CPS allegedly left the children with their grandparents, but they say Jennifer Salley refused to allow the children to stay with them and insisted they be placed with non-family members. The grandparents say since then, they were only able to speak with their grandchildren on the phone.
They also say they were alerted by third parties of incidents at school involving the children including removing pants in the lunchroom. They also say one of the children swallowed numerous birth control pills at one point and they believe CPS has removed the children from her home on other instances.
Jennifer Salley’s parents allege she has a history of mental problems, are concerned for their children’s well-being and have sought full custody. There’s no word yet on a resolution to the case.
There were several complaints to the Department of Human Services over Jennifer Salley’s daycare Om Baby in the months leading up to the drowning. Body camera video showed Knox County deputies and a DHS worker serving her paperwork.
The twin toddlers, a nearly-two-year-old boy and girl, were pulled from the pool and rushed to Children’s Hospital. The girl died last Friday. The boy was placed on life support and was declared brain dead on Sunday. Life support was discontinued a few days later.
Salley has not responded to WATE 6 On Your Side’s requests for comment.