MISSOULA - A daycare employee arrested for allegedly smoking meth while on the job will appear in Missoula County Justice Court on Thursday afternoon.
Autumn Sienna Heinz, 30, is charged with three felonies: endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal mischief.
In charging documents, Missoula police received a phone call from a YMCA Learning Center employee Tuesday stating that a possible drug kit had been located at the daycare.
The employee told police she had seen the defendant, Heinz, hiding beneath a cabinet in the laundry room the week prior that can be described as a "drug den."
The employee told police she could see a hard case that contained a meth pipe near the defendant in the cabinet.
When officers investigated, they found eye hooks on the inside of the doors of the cabinet so they could be fastened and locked from the inside to prevent anyone from opening them.
Police detectives also found a hard case that contained a glass pipe with what appeared to be meth residue, a plastic tube full of white crystals, small snort tubes, lighters, small black air filter, a battery powered light, among other items.
The white crystals tested positive for methamphetamine.
When being interviewed by detectives, Heinz told them that she had a history of drug use including heroin and opioid pills, and that she had "started at the Methadone Clinic in 2013 and stopped sometime in 2016 or 2017".
Heinz told police she admitted to constructing the cabinet about three weeks ago to go on breaks and get away, but Heinz did not admit to the meth use to detectives, requesting a lawyer.
Water Rights, Inc. a company that does meth testing, responded to the YMCA Learning Center this week.
The tests were positive for meth within the cabinet and a vent fan in the bathroom, used by people to exhale to try to avoid detection of the odor of the drug being smoked.
Because this was done, the meth fumes appear to have permeated the whole Learning Center. The tests show all of the rooms in the facility had tested positive for meth, including the infant room.
Based on preliminary estimates the cleanup for meth contamination could be in excess of $80,000.
The Learning Center's director reported Heinz had been a full-time employee for three years and worked in the infant area, which has 18 enrolled in the infants section.