It can be surprising how fast toddlers are, and how quickly curious toddlers can slip away unnoticed by even attentive parents. Although almost any small child can sneak out undetected, it is not uncommon for a lost and wandering child to be neglected, sometimes leaving home while parents or guardians are passed out or high.
Wandering 2 Year Old in Logan County Oklahoma
In a recent case out of Logan County, sheriff's deputies who found a wandering 2-year-old found something even more than just a simple case of drug possession when they found the child's parents. They found a marijuana growing operation worth roughly $100,000.
Shortly before noon last Tuesday, a 2-year-old boy wearing only a diaper and pajama pants was found wandering alone near an intersection. Witnesses said the child was almost struck by a vehicle as he wandered the street. Sheriff's deputies tried to locate the child's parents, but were unable to do so.
Roughly an hour later, a man called 9-1-1, frantically reporting that his child was missing. He said that he and his wife had been napping and awoke to find the child gone. When a dispatcher told him that deputies found his son already, he began "sobbing uncontrollably."
The child was found nearly 1,000 feet from his family's home.
When a deputy arrived at the parents' Edmond home, he reported smelling marijuana in the residence. The parents gave him permission to search, and the deputy reportedly found a candle jar filled with marijuana, a plastic bin containing marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.
The deputy arrested Joshua Bates and Megan Bates on complaints of possession of a controlled substance in the presence of a minor. The toddler and two other children, aged 12 and 17, were taken into DHS custody.
Search Warrant Leads to Marijuana Bust
The following day, Logan County Sheriff's deputies returned with a search warrant to search the rest of the premises. They say they discovered a shed containing marijuana grow operation with up to 92 plants valued at more than $100,000.
In general, a first offense of marijuana possession for personal use is a misdemeanor. However, drug possession in the presence of a child incurs twice the penalties of those associated with a typical offense.
Possession with intent to distribute marijuana is a felony, as is marijuana cultivation. The parents have not been formally charged as of this writing, but it is likely they will also face charges of child neglect, likewise a felony, for failing to shield their children from the presence of a controlled substance in their home.
To learn more, call drug attorney Adam Banner at (405) 778-4800 to schedule a free, confidential review of your case.