Michelle Marie Wilkerson, 36, of Winter Haven, was arrested Tuesday on five counts of child abuse at Little Bloodhound Preschool in Auburndale.

AUBURNDALE — A former daycare worker arrested on felony charges of child abuse by Auburndale police told investigators that even though she admitted "it looked bad," she was trying to stop children from biting one another, according to the APD. 

Michelle Marie Wilkerson, 36, of Winter Haven, was arrested Tuesday on five counts of child abuse after detectives, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Children and Families, viewed hours of video surveillance taken at Little Bloodhound Preschool in Auburndale.

Police report there were at least two separate occasions in which Wilkerson harshly yanked a child by the arm to move that child to another table. And on three separate occasions, Wilkerson was seen covering the mouth, nose and chin of a child, and forcing the child's head back while squeezing the cheek area and making the child cry, according to reports.

Little Bloodhound has a policy that employees are not permitted to place their hands on a child, and instead the employee is to verbally re-direct the child.

In an APD news release, police reported that after a thorough investigation and reviewing of hours of video surveillance, they determined there were five preschool children who were victims of child abuse.

Detectives worked with the preschool owner and contacted parents and guardians of children who were potential victims of abuse.

Wilkerson was charged with five felony counts of child abuse and booked into the Polk County Jail.

She had previously been out on bond since her arrest on April 27 for trespassing, resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer, according to her arrest affidavit.

Kathy Leigh Berkowitz can be reached at kberkowitz@theledger.com or at 863-802-7558. Follow her on Twitter @kberkowitzthel1.