Fairfax County police revealed that a former daycare worker and convicted sex offender is now facing eight additional felony charges after new evidence was brought to light in an ongoing investigation.
Elwood Lewis Thomas, a 35-year-old male, was arrested on the morning of Sept. 25 and was charged with five counts of rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of abduction with the intent to defile in his time working at Happy Land Daycare, an in-home daycare located on the 6400 block of Holyoke Drive in Annandale, according to Captain Thea Pirnat, Commander of Fairfax County police’s Major Crimes Division.
Pirnat stated that Thomas was previously convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual battery stemming from an August 2012 arrest also at the daycare. He pled guilty, served a year in jail and is currently on probation.
“The facts and circumstances of this case…are extremely disturbing and heinous,” Pirnat said during a press conference about the new charges. “This case is very complicated. It’s still extremely active, so please understand that there will be additional information that will be updated later.”
Police said that three additional victims came forward in July 2019 and re-opened the investigation into the daycare. The incidents, according to the police, took place between 2006-10.
“Unfortunately, disclosure of sexual abuse is a process. It’s not a single incident. Not everyone’s ready to come forward at same time,” Pirnat added. “These are child victims. Maybe they didn’t disclose at the time because they weren’t ready. In 2019, we found three additional victims who were ready to disclose.”
The victims were juveniles at the time but police didn’t comment on exact ages. The daycare serviced children from eight weeks of age to 12-year-olds from 1999 – 2012, when Thomas’ first arrest caused the daycare to close down.
Thomas resided in the home and was related to the owner and operator of the daycare. Police didn’t disclose the nature of the relationship, and are continuing to investigate whether or not that relative was involved in any of the criminal activity that took place.