By Jeff Allen
Knox County, KY (WLEX/CNN) - A Kentucky day care owner has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal abuse.
Larinda Tuttle is accused of leaving several children in a hot attic Friday. She had her first court appearance Monday.
"I would never hurt children. I haven't in the past, I love children and this is breaking my heart," said Tuttle.
But Friday, while state inspectors came to Great Start Educational Center in Barbourville after complaints the day care was operating without a license, investigators say they found something far worse; five children left alone in an attic in more than 100 degree heat, around broken glass, exposed nails, and dead birds.
"It was completely misconstrued, inaccurate and exploded and blown out of proportion," said Tuttle.
A police report shows it took nearly 30 minutes for a teenage boy to answer the door, and when he did he said he was the only one there.
"My daughter was scared. Like I said, I had stepped out for a little bit and she was scared. And she just didn't know what to do," said Tuttle.
"And when you put a teenager under pressure, things are gonna happen," said Mary Copley.
Copley's two daughters were at the day care.
"I think they were scared into the attic, if that happened. I've never known Larinda to be anything but good to my children," she said.
According to police, the day care didn't have a license and is temporarily closed.
Tuttle faces five counts of first degree criminal abuse.
The kids are all okay.