WOODSTOCK – Additional child endangerment charges were filed against a Woodstock woman who ran an unlicensed day care.
In addition to four misdemeanor child endangerment charges, Annette T. Zender, 52, of 15704 N. Route 14, also was charged Friday with harassing a witness, a Class 2 felony.
Zender first was arrested in April after a 5-year-old boy was injured while in her care. The boy ran into a tree and suffered a concussion.
The boy’s mother, Kristy Skoog, also filed a stalking no contact order prohibiting Zender from contacting her.
Skoog said Zender was calling her to get Skoog to speak to the media on Zender’s behalf.
“I just wanted her to talk to [the Northwest Herald] so I left some nice messages, then they got a little stern, in three days 7-8 messages,” Zender wrote in an email to the Northwest Herald. “All she had to do was [say] she didn’t want to talk to [the media].”
But police say that Skoog, as a potential witness for the April incident, was being harassed by Zender to drop the case.
“We allege that she left threatening messages for the parent of the child that was injured, and that’s the basis for the charge,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Combs said.
Skoog said Zender did not provide any medical care to Skoog’s son, Sammy, after the accident. Skoog also alleges that Zender did not call her at work to tell her about Sammy’s injuries and that it was five hours before he received any medical attention.
“[She] dropped the ball,” Skoog said. “[She] didn’t care enough to bring my child for medical help, or call for medical help or call me.”
When she was arrested Friday, Zender was providing care to four children even though she was not allowed to do so during the pending Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation. This resulted in the child endangerment charges. The four children, all under 5 years old, were found in an unlit bathroom in the basement of Zender’s home, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
In her April arrest, police said an unfenced pond and large farm equipment on Zender’s property could pose a danger to the children.
A former foster parent and self-described domestic violence victim advocate, Zender said Sammy’s injuries were an accident and she believed she would soon be exonerated. She provides low-cost child care for single mothers, a “service to the community,” she said.
Zender had provided unlicensed day care for up to 12 children under 6 years old before her April arrest.
Zender posted 10 percent of her $41,500 bond Friday and was released the same day. She is set to appear in court at 9 a.m. July 9.