Vidalia daycare shut down amid child cruelty probe

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021

VIDALIA — Noah’s Ark Christian Childcare in Vidalia was empty Tuesday morning while state and local law enforcement agencies investigate reports of suspected child cruelty at the center.

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said officers were called regarding a situation at the daycare last week. An investigation is still open involving VPD, Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Police, Merrill said.

On Friday, Taylor Ragonesi, 19, of Ferriday, was arrested by Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office on three counts of cruelty to a juvenile, according to arrest records. CPSO did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment for this story.

Casey Wallace, public information officer for Louisiana State Police Region E, said LSP is now investigating the daycare and more arrests and charges are possible as their investigation continues.

Annabelle Wilson, a mother who said her child was injured under the facility’s supervision, said

she would not be allowed to comment at this time due to ongoing civil and criminal lawsuits against the daycare.

“I really wish we could say more,” she said. “My heart is broken.”

Attorney Chris Norris is representing the Wilson family in a civil suit against the daycare.

The childcare center, located at 603 Gregory St., is a state-licensed facility that provided care to a maximum of 46 children between infancy and four years of age.

Affiliates of the daycare could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.