Court docs: Meth smoke permeated YMCA daycare - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Court docs: Meth smoke permeated YMCA daycare

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A drug cleanup expert estimates that a YMCA daycare has been permeated with methamphetamine fumes and the cleanup could cost more than $80,000.

Court documents released Thursday give more details on the recent case of a daycare employee arrested for bring and using meth at work.

Documents say Autumnn Sienna Heinz, 30, worked at the YMCA Learning Center daycare for three years and primarily cared for infants. In the last month, employees said they noticed Heinz taking 35-45 minute breaks at a time.

According to court documents, another employee caught Heinz in the daycare's laundry room, hiding in a large cabinet and carrying what looked like a drug kit.

Police responded and say they discovered that Heinz had set up the cabinet as a small area for using drugs. The double cabinet was found with a a battery-powered light inside, small shelves, cloths stapled in to serve as makeshift curtains, and eye hooks that could keep the cabinet doors closed shut from the inside. A small black air filter with "sparkly beads on it" was attached to the inside of the cabinet as well. Police also found a small glitter case containing snort tubes, lighters, glass pipe and a 5.2 gram container of methamphetamine crystals.

Police believe Heinz set up the cabinet as a "drug den" to climb inside and use methamphetamine. A police sergeant interviewed Heinz and searched her bags, and found other drug paraphernalia including a small mirror and knife with white residue.

Court documents say Heinz told police that she had a prior history of opioid pill and heroin. She also reportedly told police she had decorated the laundry room cabinet as an area to "go on breaks and get away."

Police arrested Heinz and she is booked in Missoula County jail.

Drug cleanup expert Lee Yelin of Water Rights, Inc., responded to the Learning Center and did initial surface tests. Yelin testified that besides the cabinet, it appeared that Heinz also smoked meth in the employee bathroom and exhaled into the vent fan. Yelin says tests showed that meth fumes permeated the entire Learning Center. He estimated that cleanup costs could exceed $80,000.

Heinz is charged with endangering child welfare, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal mischief. She appeared in front of a Missoula County Justice Court judge Thursday afternoon. Her bail is set for $30,000.

The YMCA sent the email below to parents to notify them about option to have their children tested for meth exposure:

Dear Parents, 

We have received a copy of the charging documents for Autum Sienna Heinz.  I have attached the document for all parents to review.

The charging document has additional information given to authorities by the company the YMCA hired to test the facility. Some of this information is new to us and it notes that "every room in the building has tested positive."  

We have received some conflicting information from the company and are reaching out to them to give us a written statement so we can provide it to the families. 

The Y would like to once again encourage families to at the minimum contact their primary care providers/ pediatricians and or First Step to discuss testing and or evaluations of their children. 

We will continue to update you as we know more.  

Here is the information for First Step again: 

First Step Resource Center is a department at Providence St. Patrick Hospital that serves children when there is a concern that they may be a victim of abuse – including when there is concern they may have been exposed to drugs. First Step will offer toxicology testing for adults and children who may have been exposed to illegal drugs at the YMCA daycare.  If interested in this testing, please call the First Step clinic to schedule a time at 329-5776. If you do not reach a person, please leave a message and First Step staff will get back to you as soon as possible. First Step recommends those concerned about possible direct exposure schedule a medical evaluation with your primary care provider.

UPDATE: Test results released April 13 showed that the Learning Center classrooms came up clean, but other rooms, including offfices and a bathroom, will need abatement.

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