SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The state has suspended the license of a Cedar Springs-area home child care, saying a man assaulted his wife while children were in their care.
The suspension of Thomas Cronkright and his wife’s day care called Monkey Run Day Care on Solon Street NE near Division Avenue NE in Solon Township went into effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The couple failed to provide appropriate care and supervision, failed to act in a manner conducive to the welfare of children and failed to store ammunition separately from firearms, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Child Care Licensing Bureau.
“It was critical to take emergency action to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the children at this group child care home,” investigators wrote.
The state said Cronkright assaulted his wife on May 1. There were three children at the home day care at the time.
The night before the assault, Cronkright used meth while in the home, according to the suspension order. Around 6:30 a.m. the next day, Cronkright became upset with his wife over something on her phone. He slammed her head into a chair and diaper-changing table, then hit her in the face with her phone while threatening to kill her, the document says.
Thomas Cronkright continued to assault her and then went to grab a shotgun, the suspension order continues. She was bleeding and picked up an 8-month-old child. That’s when he pointed the gun at her and the child, according to the order.
“It’s a scary time for a child,” Kent County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Eric Brunner told News 8. “And unfortunately throughout Kent County our deputies respond every day to some type of a domestic altercation, whether it’s just an argument or an assault. That’s why these calls are dangerous. They’ve very volatile ’cause there’s a lot of emotions mixed in those. Now we have other people’s kids that were taken care of now, and they’re in the midst of it.”
The woman left the house with the child while Cronkright continued to point the gun at her and threaten her life before driving away in his car, the order said.
“There was a child in direct danger,” Brunner said. “I would say all the kids were in direct danger during any type of a fight.”
She went to a neighbor’s house to hide in the garage while the neighbors called the police. The other two children were left inside the house, according to the order.
“The female had blood on her face and said someone was trying to shoot her,” Brunner said.
The order says deputies were called to the house around 7:30 a.m. but could not get inside because dogs inside were acting aggressively. Animal control was called to subdue the dogs before deputies could get inside to get the two other children.
“We did find a 2-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy in a breezeway of that home wrapped in that blankets. We were able to get all three children in total back to their parents, and those three children were unrelated to the husband and wife,” Brunner said.
All three children were physically unharmed, Brunner said.
“Anytime a child is directly involved in a domestic assault, whether they’re injured or not, there’s still that trauma they’re experiencing,” Brunner said. “They’re around someone being assaulted, an argument, a firearm’s now involved, that’s a scar that that’s leaving on that child. They’ll have to process through with their parents and their life cause that’s a very traumatic incident.”
Cronkright was arrested that day for felony assault and aggravated domestic violence and taken to the Kent County jail, according to the order. His wife was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.
But the investigation isn’t over. As the state continues to look into the day care, it’s possible both Cronkright and his wife could face charges related to neglect.
The investigation discovered that the couple had started using drugs in August 2022. They received their license to operate a group child care home for up to 12 children in June 2020, according to the state.
According to Michigan State Police, Cronkright has multiple criminal convictions in the 2000s for misdemeanor assault and for driving under the influence.