A 3-year-old child spent several months in hospital after they tested positive for methamphetamine, which local authorities later determined had been ingested while staying at their father’s home in Missouri, court records show.
The incident, which occurred in April 2021, triggered the Missouri Department of Social Services to be notified after the toddler was taken to hospital and had tested positive for the illicit substance, the Festus Police Department reported.
Officers from the police department then carried out an investigation alongside the MDSS Children’s Division, and upon visiting the father’s home for an inspection discovered that meth was mixed inside a candy bowl, easily within reach of a small child’s arm.
“We unfortunately receive several calls a year for children being exposed to drugs in their homes,” Sgt Lewis Pippin told The Independent in an emailed statement. “[This case] is one of the more extreme cases we experience involving drugs in the home, as this one included a child ingesting the drugs they were exposed to. It’s an avoidable and unfortunate situation.”
The sick child was put up in a Missouri hospital for at least five months, a probable cause statement obtained by KTWA revealed.
In October 2021, when the statement was filed, it described how the child was still being treated in hospital for kidney and liver issues and muscle deterioration from the April 2021 incident.
The child, according to the probable cause statement obtained by the news agency, “only stayed with [the father] for one night” and began to show symptoms within the same evening that he was staying at the Missouri home.
Police said that there was a 1-year-old child present at the home at the time of the incident, but that they showed no signs of having ingested the illegal substance.
The child’s father, Malcolm Smith, is being held at the Jefferson County Jail in Hillsboro, Missouri and has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of possession of a controlled substance, court records show.
Sgt Pippin told The Independent that the force is unaware of the child’s current condition and that the child’s mother remains the primary caretaker.
Mr Smith’s arraignment is scheduled for 3 August.