MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) – Marked Tree Police say they arrested Kenneth Gilmore Friday morning for being a sex offender on a school campus. Gilmore is currently in the Marked Tree Jail awaiting a bond hearing which is set for Monday. See below for the whole story:
MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) - Marked Tree Police told Region 8 News Thursday it has handed over an investigation looking at why a registered sex offender performed carpentry work at the Child of Mine Daycare. According to Detective Jeremy Bond, police contacted the Department of Human Services after receiving an anonymous tip that Kenneth Wayne Gilmore, a high level three sex offender, had been working at the daycare during business hours. Bond said police have issued a warrant for his arrest, charging Gilmore with a felony for entering a school campus as a registered sex offender.
"We found out last Thursday afternoon. We actually had anonymous information that there was a level three sex offender working at the Child of Mine Daycare," said Bond. "I was given a name, did some preliminary investigation and determined that he is a level three high risk child, registered sex offender."
Bond said an investigation into the daycare has been turned over to DHS. Region 8 News tried multiple times to contact DHS and all calls have been unsuccessful.
Click here to read Arkansas' law on sex offender registration.
"We sent an officer down there. Made him gather his belongings and he had the choice of leaving or going to jail. He left the premises and Monday morning we contacted DHS. DHS is the one that handles daycares and preschools. We contacted DHS and gave them the information. They're conducting their investigation," said Bond. "We simply verified that he is a sex offender. We were notified Friday morning that he was back on the premises at which time we went down there and made him leave."
Bond said Kenneth Gilmore is a relative of Wynetta Gilmore, who owns the daycare. She declined to comment on camera and was in Little Rock Thursday.
"I want to hold judgment until I know all the facts. The teacher that Piper is in her class, previously nannied (sic) for me privately in my home. She loves her. Piper really loves her. She has always taken excellent care and I have never had any problems there," said April Williams, whose three-year old daughter attends Child of Mine. "Did the owner know that he was a sex offender? I was told that he was a distant relative and moved from Chicago."
Williams said she learned that a sex offender was working at the daycare early this week. She said she heard about the situation from a friend.
"People just saying, did you hear? Did you hear? I said, hear about what ? Hear about daycare? I thought the building must have burned. I didn't know what was going on and they said well there was a sex offender doing some construction work, but they're saying the owner did not know," said Williams. "Before someone comes around in those types of jobs, especially where children are being cared for, drug tests and back ground checks first before you even say, please, come help us do construction or replace a window."
Region 8 News also spoke with two employees of the daycare who wish to remain anonymous. They said they didn't know about Kenneth's history.
"You have to do that. Like I said, those are babies. They can't make those decisions and they don't know and children are very trusting. They are. They are very trusting and you have to be sure they're safe," said Williams.
Williams said she trusted the teachers at the daycare and is not pulling her daughter from her teacher.
"If it wasn't for Piper's teacher and how good of a person she is and I've grown up with her, even in high school. That's how long I've known this person. I just feel very good about her staying there," said Williams. "I know I love them and I know I'm going to take care of them. Yes, accidents happen, falls and scrapes, things like that, but 100% with the parent because nobody can do it as good as me or as the parent."
Region 8 News also tried to talk to Kenneth, but our phone call was unsuccessful.
"She should have known before you even hire a person to be around children. Background checks are super important and drug tests. These are children," said Williams. "You just want to know that when you drop them off that they are being taken care of and loved and nurtured to the best of that person's ability."