ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. — Deputies at the sheriff’s office on Main Street in Centreville are used to dealing with adults and their drug usage or addiction. However when a child is involved — as a victim or injured person — undersheriff Mark Lillywhite said “it melts your heart.”
Monday, their hearts melted.
“We were notified that a baby or infant was taken to the hospital that may have ingested methamphetamines,” said Lillywhite during an interview at the Sheriff's Office. “[We] started investigating it and learned that the baby had tested positive for methamphetamine.”
The child, almost 2 years old, received medical treatment immediately he said. Investigators don't know exactly how the toddler consumed meth but it happened while in his mom’s care at their home in Burr Oak. After it was consumed, the mother ran to a neighbor’s house.
“They came next door to an individual and said ‘I think my baby may have had some meth and we’re scared to take him to the hospital because my boyfriend doesn’t want to go to jail,’” said Lillywhite. “So they ended up transporting the infant to the hospital.”
When the hospital called the sheriff’s office they relayed everything they knew to the deputies. They also contacted Child Protective Services who immediately put the toddler, and other children in the home, in foster care.
“The male half of this in jail,” said Lillywhite. “The male half was on parole at the time so we have a parole hold on him as of now. What happens now is CPS will conduct and investigation, they’ll work hand-in-hand with the prosecutor.”
Lillywhite said the couple could faces charges of child abuse and possession of methamphetamine, among others. He hopes though that the mother makes some lifestyle changes and uses this experience as a wake-up call.
“She chose to put herself and her children in that environment and that’s the true sadness,” said Lily-white who wants changes to be enforced. “I hope that it’s strong and it's very deliberate on the changes that are made. And if they can’t handle it, they don’t deserve to have these children. They don't."