Four-year-old tests positive for meth, 4 drug arrests made

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – Husband and wife, Eric and Amanda Wells, along with John Cox and Holly Ethridge found themselves on the wrong side of the law when Baldwin County Sheriff’s deputies came knocking at their mobile home last night.

“An anonymous complaint stated that he believed some methamphetamines were being produced in this trailer and there was possibly a child present when the production was taking place,” Major Anthony Lowery said.

Turns out a four-year-old girl was present at the time later tested positive for meth at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. They also found parts of a recently active meth lab.

“Further investigation actually revealed that they had disposed of part of the lab in the toilet while deputies were outside trying to get inside the residence,” Lowery said.

Lowery said they couldn’t conduct the interviews inside the home because the stench was just too overwhelming.

“The vapors coming off the meth lab were so bad the deputies couldn’t actually stay inside the residence either. They had to remove all the parties and especially the child outside for their safety,” Lowery said.

Sad as it was to find the child in the home, Lowery said it’s unfortunately not that uncommon.

“I wish that I could say that it’s unusual, it’s not. It happens quite frequently. Fortunately it just doesn’t happen all the time,” Lowery said.

“We’re seeing this more and more where we’re finding these children in these hidden production sites, especially in the county areas and we really don’t know what type of long term effects this can have on children,” Dr. Jose Murillo, a doctor with Baptist Medical Group, said.

Murillo said there aren’t many studies on children who are exposed to high doses amphetamines. But he said that brain health is a big concern for them.

“At that age, the brain isn’t fully developed and so that can cause changes in brain chemistries, function, even the structure. In the future, that can cause that not to develop correctly,” Murillo said.

The child is now in the care of her grandmother. Those four who were arrested are facing the following charges:

  • Eric Wells – Unlawful Manufacture of a controlled substance 1st, Chemical Endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia
  • John Cox – Unlawful Manufacture of a controlled substance 1st, Chemical Endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Amanda Wells – Chemical Endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Holly Ethridge – Chemical Endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia

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