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Dad accused of putting loaded pistol in backpack brought to child’s Glen Carbon daycare

A Maryville man packed his 4-year-old child’s backpack with bedsheets, covers and a loaded gun and then took it to the child’s daycare, according to charges filed in Madison County.

Joshua Finley, 32, has been charged with reckless conduct. Finley, of Maryville, could not immediately be reached for comment. He has no previous criminal record in Madison County.

The charges allege that he brought a backpack to the child, who is identified in the charges as J.F., a student at Early Explorations Daycare Center at 3011 Old Troy Road in Glen Carbon, on July 2. The charges allege the backpack contained a loaded firearm, and that Finley “recklessly performed an act which endangered the bodily safety of others, being employees and students.”

Finley allegedly packed his child’s backpack with sheets and covers for nap time and brought it to the daycare. Within minutes, the child opened the backpack to retrieve sleeping supplies and found the gun, according to a letter that daycare president Jennie Fuller sent to parents. Teachers were alerted when the child found the gun, according to the letter.

The gun was secured in the office and police were contacted.

“We take this opportunity to remind parents that choose to own firearms of the need to practice gun safety and to ... never put any such items in a child’s nap-time bag or anywhere a child may have access to it,” Fuller said in the letter.

Bags coming into the daycare are now searched.