One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to trust your children with someone else. Whether that’s their first experience in pre-school, their first day of Kindergarten, leaving them with a nanny, a babysitter, a daycare… It doesn’t matter which it is, because there is always the fear that you’re not with your child and you know what’s best for them. When leaving them at any of the aforementioned places, though, you do so trusting the place you’re leaving them and hoping they will care for your child with the same cautiousness and attention that you would.
However, there are sometimes those horror stories that arise now and then of abusive daycare centers, child predators working in schools, and more. While these stories are awful and gut-wrenching, it’s important to share them in an effort to save as many children as possible going forward and ensure people avoid certain places if possible.
Recently, Teen Mom OG star Catelynn Baltierra took to her Instagram to expose a daycare center in Kimball, Michigan- and her account, as well as others that we spoke to, is quite harrowing.
‘Disgusted’ By A ‘Predator’
“I am ABSOLUTELY disgusted!!!!” Baltierra began with writing. “PLEASE if you have kids that go here PLEASE remove them!!!! #saveourchildren.”
The first image she shared in the post was a screenshot from a man named Kevin James to a Facebook group called “Through My Eyes.”
As can be seen in the above screenshot, it states “GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF COZY CORNER DAYCARE ASAP!!! TIM VANBUSKIRK IS A F**KING PREDATOR WHO MOLESTS KIDS!!!! I HAVE COUNTLESS MESSAGES DETAILING HIS PREDATORY BEHAVIOR!!! CHRIS VANBUSKIRK IS JUST AS DANGEROUS AS HER HUSBAND TIM!!! COZY CORNER DAYCARE NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!!!”
To note, as this is pertinent later in the story, Chris is the owner the daycare and Tim is her husband.
The next image Baltierra shared, as seen above, is a screenshot of the address of the Cozy Corner Child Care Center, billed as a “Child care agency in Kimball, Michigan.”
The next image Baltierra included in her Instagram post is a screenshot from the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, which shows Tim Edward Vanbuskirk was registered in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry since 1994 for one charge of “criminal sexual conduct- fourth degree (Force or Coercion) (attempted).”
The fourth and final image Baltierra shared was one that said “KIDS LIVES MATTER IT’S TIME TO END PEDOPHILIA.”
While it’s always good to see stars with big social media followings (Baltierra has 3.7 million followers on Instagram alone) using them for good, one may wonder what led Baltierra to share this particular story. We reached out to her to find out what was going on and what her involvement with trying to expose this daycare was, aside from her being a Mom with a large platform.
It Involves Lowell’s Daughter Nova
Lowell began with sharing that her daughter, Nova, had gone to this daycare back in 2018- and Baltierra was NEVER informed by the owner Chris, whom she met with, that her husband was a registered sex offender.
“I found out three days ago that her husband was on the sex offenders list for doing something to his step-daughter,” Baltierra began with sharing.
“We started looking for a school when Nova was two years old to get her to interact with kids her age, learn to share, make friends, etc.,” Baltierra continued sharing. “We found Cozy Corner and they had a really good star rating.”
We did look on Google and, just as Baltierra stated, the Cozy Corner Child Care Center does have an excellent rating, getting a rating of 4.7/5, as can be seen in the following screenshot:
Due to their excellent rating, Lowell explained that “We went and met with the owner Chris. All seemed well.”
“But,” Baltierra explicitly stated, “never ONCE did she mention this [the fact that her husband was a registered sex offender]!”
Baltierra believes Chris did not mention this “because she’s a liar and wants to hide this.”
“Thank GOD Nova was only there a few months,” Baltierra continued sharing with us. “Tonight I showed Nova a picture of Chris’s husband, Tim, asking if she had ever seen this man and she told me no. I asked her 5 different times… because what if he touched my child? Because it all came out how he’s been at the daycare and has also taken kids by himself on their ‘nature trail.’”
“It’s all so disgusting and disturbing,” Baltierra added. “I just want to put everything out there so moms or Grandmas or Aunts WHATEVER see this and hopefully it saves children!”
Aside from just putting the information out there, Lowell asserted that “this place needs to be shut down!”
“Parents need to do extra checking when it comes to daycare‘s etc. because I never knew this!” Baltierra wrapped with telling us. “And I have a feeling a lot of the kids’ parents that do go there don’t have a clue.”
“Do your due diligence when looking for childcare for your children,” Baltierra also stated. “Run background checks on them. Talk to some workers that work there. Find other parents of kids that go there and talk to those parents. Just check and double-check. You can never be too safe when it comes to your children.”
‘Through My Eyes’
As we noted above, Baltierra’s first image she shared on her Instagram was from a Facebook group entitled “Through My Eyes.” We exclusively spoke to Kevin Lindke (who is “Kevin James” on Facebook), who started the Facebook group, to get his story and his connection to Cozy Corner.
“Two years ago I created a Facebook group page called ‘Through My Eyes,’” Lindke began with sharing. “I was three years into a very contentious custody action, and right when things were beginning to settle down, my then 3-year-old daughter began talking about a man who lives in a dirt-floor shack in the woods on her maternal great-grandparent’s farm.”
“This man turned out to be a twice-convicted violent sexual predator who terrorized and sexually abused his own family members,” Lindke continued. “My daughter began saying that this man was her best friend and that she plays with his kittens at his shack. Due to my ex’s family being closely tied to the judge in our case, and also to other prominent local officials, I was unsuccessful in keeping this man away from my daughter. He was also mysteriously removed from the sex offender registry eleven years early.”
“The situation progressed and is still ongoing to this day,” Lindke elaborated. “I have publicly highlighted things as they have transpired, and in doing so, I’ve gained a loyal following locally. Once the public witnessed me standing up the courts, and the system in general, they began to feed me information about other concerning situations in the community that desperately needed attention. I would then perform my due diligence and vet all of the information, and if everything checked out and was confirmed, I would post about whatever the issue at the time was. People really began to respond and my page evolved into a rather unique community platform that focused on exposing public corruption in various forms. It also became a sounding board for local victims of sexual abuse and molestation.”
What’s It Got To Do With Cozy Corner?
While Lindke’s background on how he had a personal issue involving his daughter that led him to start a Facebook page that garnered attention was fascinating, what did this have to do with Cozy Corner?
“That all brings us to this current situation involving Cozy Corner Child Care in Kimball, Michigan,” Lindke then began to share, detailing the childcare center Lowell had posted about.
“I was given information last week that referenced a local daycare whose owner was married to a Tier 3 convicted sex offender who had molested her biological daughter,” Lindke stated. “I was also told that a local influential pastor was closely tied to the family, and helped them secure their county business license, all while being intimately aware of the husband’s status as a sex offender. The pastor actually counseled them after the incident happened. The pastor headed the county business licensing board. He also received a lot of monetary donations from the family.”
Having a vested interest in this topic, Lindke explained that “I began looking into things, and unbeknownst to me, many people in the community were already well aware of the situation, and had been for years. No matter how often people would complain about the business, nothing would ever go anywhere. The business just continued to receive a large amount of state money for babysitting foster kids and other at-risk youth, and also other children from the community. All while the husband was frequently and consistently at the facility, and in contact with all of the children. He was also left alone with the kids on a regular basis. This is all confirmed by current and former employees who were unaware of his sexually abusive criminal history.”
“Mind you,” Lindke added, “this place has been in operation since 1999. The husband was convicted in 1994. The wife would either keep the information a secret to prospective clients, or would assure the parents that knew about him that the husband was never present with kids, and only operated as a maintenance man at the facility when no kids were in attendance. This is still her MO to this very day. She LIES about everything.”
Unaware Of His History
Lindke had more to share, stating that “As Cate told you, she was never made aware of the man’s history or of his presence at the daycare. Numerous employees have all corroborated one another’s claims that not only was he regularly present but that he would actually relieve them for lunch/breaks, etc. He was left alone with the kids on countless occasions.”
“There is also an allegation that he would take some kids on a nature trail that runs behind the facility,” Lindke continued. “State licensing officials were also aware of this man’s history, but never stepped in to investigate the situation. Rather, every investigation would be shut down before it ever really got going. Things are very suspicious with this place. Different schools and CPS [Child Protective Services] were also sending kids there knowing full well that a sex offender was frequently present. The county we live in is VERY corrupt, and it seems pretty clear that this daycare facility was being used to garner as much state funding as possible, all while a creepy sex offender lurked around.”
Lindke had more stories to share related to Cozy Corner, as he stated that “A child actually got out of the facility and wandered off in 2015. He was found by a passing motorist who spotted him in ditch right next to a main road. The daycare didn’t even know he was gone until the motorist brought him in. This incident was covered by local media. Not long after, another child was left on the playground in the winter. He wasn’t discovered to be missing until they did a headcount and came up one short. A lot of ex-employees confirm all of this information.”
“I began to post all of the information I was being given, along with the documents to back everything up that I said,” Lindke also stated. “More people continued to feed me information about the daycare, and soon the situation blew up locally on social media. Somehow Cate became aware of it, and instantly she realized that her daughter had been there previously. She shared one of my Facebook posts to her Instagram page, and after some of my supporters saw it, they posted on the page about her being a former client there, and that MTV had actually filmed there. Local media outlets picked up on the story yesterday morning, and I made a post about needing some parents to do an interview whose children had attended the daycare. Cate reached out to me, and said that she would absolutely speak up. Now here we are.”
A Former Employee Of Cozy Corner Speaks Out
Lindke then connected us to Kaitlyn Ware, a former employee from Cozy Corner, who had her own stories to share regarding the facility and what goes on there.
Ware began with sharing her experiences, stating that “While I was there, there was a child left on the playground in winter time. Another parent saw him and brought him in. Chris [the owner] never reported it. She did whatever she had to do for the parents not to report it as well, which meant we had to constantly keep those parents happy and let them do whatever they wanted.”
“A few months later,” Ware continued, “a child was left inside of a classroom while the rest of the class went outside. The same thing happened- it wasn’t reported and we had to keep those parents happy so they wouldn’t report it.”
But what did Ware know about Chris’s husband, Tim?
“I found out about Chris’s husband after a few months of working there,” Ware explained. “While I was there, I personally never saw him during hours we were open, but Chris would often mention him coming in after-hours to fix things or do maintenance.”
Ware then went on to address the facility’s high-ratings, as she said “Their recent inspection where they got a 5-star rating? I don’t even understand how. When we were reading through the booklet saying what all was needed to be a 5 star, just the way the rooms were set up do to the actual shape and layout of the building, was enough to mark them down to a 4 star, so I don’t understand how they got past those things.”
Ware then detailed allegations related to staff members physically hurting the children who attended the facility.
Ware revealed that “There were a few times just in the like 10 months I was there where people would come in, watch the cameras and ask the staff about certain teachers because there were suspicions of them physically hurting the children. I don’t know what happened with those cases, but I know the teachers stayed and never got in trouble.”
“There are cameras in the rooms but not in the changing room for the toddler department,” Ware added.
And what about Chris as a boss, aside from the fact that her husband is a registered sex offender?
Ware stated that “Chris is also just a mean person. She’s a bully. She’s mean to her staff and she’s mean to parents. It’s a very toxic environment for anyone- child or adult- to be in.”
Ware wrapped with telling us that “If Chris were to not be there, the daycare would be great. Some of the staff are so amazing, but a bad owner/boss can ruin everything.”
As we previously mentioned, Lindke’s Facebook group started to gain a lot of traction and a lot of stories began to be shared there. Lindke shared with us some very pertinent screenshots, including the following:
As can be seen in the screenshot above, someone wrote “Kevin Totty is standing behind PEDOPHILES.”
This was written on top of a Facebook post shared by Cozy Corner in which they wrote “Thank you Kevin Totty from the Michigan Small Business for the grant. I ordered 6 chrome books for school age extension program. Your organization is standing by child care.”
The next screenshot, as seen above, has a part in the corner that was in an email that Chris had sent out to parents about Lindke, and reads “The sheriff has been alerted and all be watching us closely. I want to assure families that Cozy Corner is following all Licensing requirement and have alerted our licensing consultant of this issue. We do everything to have a safe and caring environment for your child to learn and grow in. We do a thorough background check with criminal records, fingerprint check, references, and PSOR (Public Sex Offender Registry check on every individual wanting to work or volunteer here). No one with any crime against children is every [SIC] allowed to be near children or be employed by our center. Never would I, as an advocate for children, allow someone to hurt a child. I am thankful that anyone that knows me, understands what I stand for. I have worked to train my staff to hold the highest standards for caring for children. And if any of the negative lies are true, we would not be in business for 21 years.”
Interestingly, below this statement another former employee, Bridget Huff, spoke out, and completely contradicts what Chris said. She writes “I am happy to speak about my time working there. She didn’t run any checks on me, she didn’t call a single reference, she didn’t pay fairly, the doors were not locked and her sex offender husband was kept secret from us while both her daughter, grandson and husband were in the daycare near daily. Another staff ember discovered his Sex Offender status and told me. He had been covering for our breaks, alone with little ones, just the day before. I was worried and I quit. I called authorities about it and to my knowledge, nothing was done.”
The next few screenshots that were shared with us are anonymous text messages. One is from a parent whose child attended Cozy Corner and reads the following:
“So, my son used to attend childcare at cozy corner and her husband was there ALL THE TIME. I had no idea he was a sex offender. I also have screenshots of a conversation with a former employee of cozy corner talking about how he was there ALL THE TIME. (Not sure if she wants her name out there tho). Just thought it might be information you could use if you didn’t already have it.”
“Hey Kevin,” another text message reads, this one from a former employee. “I just wanted say thank you for putting cozy corner in check. I worked there the day the child was left on the play ground, and also 3 days alter when a child was left in a class room…. but they didn’t report that one. Her husband was there ALL the time and none offs knew about this. I had the police dept look into his status and what his limits where [SIC], a week later she was labeled a 5 star daycare (even missing three children) and no one ever check back with me about her husband.”
“I can contest to what Kaitlyn Ware is saying about Cozy Corner,” another text message reads. “I would be the one dropping her off and picking her up most shifts. I did see the husband there a few times, outside one evening when they are closed but also two times I remember during business hours. He walked out the one classroom door. They frequently have code violations- not enough staff per child grouping, Chris and Jessica not helping with issues, the child being left outside on the playground was in the winter!”
The last screenshot, above, says “Pastor Tom Seppo is tied to the county licensing board and he is FULLY AWARE of this man’ history. And somehow this place is STILL licensed. Things that make you go hmmmm. #dadsdontquit #thePEOPLESMAYOR. PLEASE SHARE PLEASE SHARE PLEASE SHARE.”
“He Was Always Touching Someone”
As Lindke mentioned, this story made the news this week on Fox 2 Detroit News Live.
In the clip above- from a story entitled “Sex Offender’s Wife Runs In-Home Daycare,” [note: it was not an in-home daycare, but for some reason the clip referred to it as such] the reporter notes that “Former employees I spoke with say they never saw the man in question do anything inappropriate with children at the daycare, but their contingent is that he should have never been there.”
Then, it cuts to Huff (who we mentioned before), speaking out to say that “One of the employees in a different room who was pretty much the lead staffer came to me one day with a printed out piece of paper and it was his Sex Offender Registry. I was so horrified I just immediately called my husband at the time and let him know I was quitting. I was not going to go back a single day.”
They note that this was in 2001 and that Huff did see Tim at the center “several times a week.”
“Her husband was in on a regular basis,” Huff states. “He would relieve us when it was time for our breaks or our lunch. He was alone with my infant daughter several times. When he would come in, he would immediately take a child out of my arms. He never just came in and sat down. He was always touching someone.”
The reporter then notes 20 years later, it seems not much has changed, and the report cuts to a former Cozy Corner teacher (whose face cannot be seen, due to her wanting to remain anonymous) stating that “I have had many parents contact me looking for new care. He [Tim] was constantly on the property, fixing rooms, leaks in the building, all different kinds of stuff. He was always on the property. My kids were not only were old enough to know who he was, they knew what he drove, they knew what he looked like, they knew him by name- so the kids have obviously been in contact with him before.”
A parent, Aleshia Ritchey, is then interviewed. She had learned about Tim being a sex offender via a Facebook post and was surprised, as her children had attended Cozy Corner.
“I have three young school-age children who went in two separate occasions to this daycare,” Ritchey shared, “and I was never made aware that someone on the sex registry is allowed to frequent this property. I had no idea at all.”
Fox 2 Detroit notes that they tried to reach out to the daycare center, but no one responded to them, but that back in 2015 a state investigation found 18 violations after “a toddler escaped through an open door” and was found “walking” near a road.
Ignored Since 2015
We did exclusively catch up with Huff (whose name was previously Bridget Habedank) as well, who informed us that she has been trying to get the media to pay attention to issues surrounding Tim since 2015 when the daycare was cited for its violations; however, they did not include anything about this in their reporting at the time.
Here is proof:
Huff also told us that “I also called LARA [Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs] back then. They never even responded. How she [Chris] maintained a business license all this time is beyond my comprehension.”
Huff went on to tell us that Chris “used to claim that he wasn’t a sex offender even though you could see it plain as day on public record. Now she’s claiming he’s never been on the property and that everyone is just making that up. As if we all, complete strangers to one another, settled on the same story without ever meeting.”
“I told the other reporter that I put it in writing,” Huff added. “I wrote her a full-page letter about why I was quitting, what I knew, how disgusted I was with her. She never responded. I’m sure she destroyed it but it existed in 2001.”
So Where Does This Leave Things?
At this point, as the Fox 2 Detroit report noted, the daycare center remains open and in business, regardless of the violations it has had in the past and the fact that the owner’s husband is a registered sex offender who many claim has frequented the property.
Baltierra, for her part, is working hard to use her platform to bring awareness to the center and fight for it to close, and has vowed to do everything in her power to see that this situation is dealt with. Lindke also has continued to use his Facebook page platform to continue to expose the wrongdoings going on.