$30,000 Bail for Woman Who Contaminated Child Center with Meth
30 year-old Autumn Heinz appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Thursday accused of contaminating the entire YMCA Learning Center with methamphetamine, by smoking the drug and exhaling the smoke through the ventilation system.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney James McCubbin asked Judge Landee Holloway for $50,000 bond.
“The defendant is alleged to have very significantly breached the public trust, and her specific professional; trust,” McCubbin began. “She was working in a daycare facility where she directly cared for the infants, where she constructed her own little meth use den in the laundry facility, and the laundry room is directly in the center of the building.”
McCubbin said healthcare officials tested the building for methamphetamine exposure.
“The area that she admitted constructing tested positive for meth and there was methamphetamine there as well as paraphernalia,” he said. “The bathroom was then tested and found positive for meth, as was the air vent in the bathroom, which led the environmental tester and detectives to believe that she had been smoking methamphetamine and exhaling the smoke into the air vent system to try to avoid detection.”
McCubbin said that action put the entire day care center in danger.
“Unfortunately, what that did was spread the methamphetamine throughout the whole building and every room in the building has now tested positive for meth and all of the children appear to have been exposed,” he said. “Hopefully, none of them will test positive, but she has committed heinous crimes here, so we are requesting $50,000 bond.”
While McCubbin was speaking, Heinz bowed her head and wept quietly from the hearing room at the Missoula County Jail.
The public defender reminded Judge Holloway that Markus Kaarma, who was convicted of first degree murder, was only held on $30,000 bond. Judge Holloway set bond at $30,000 and ordered her to appear again on April 26.
The YMCA Learning Center on Palmer Street has been closed until the facility can be decontaminated from the exposure to methamphetamine. The cost could be upwards of $80,000.
Interim CEO of the YMCA Heather Foster told KGVO News that the company that is doing the testing at the Learning Center has good information about the exact locations where they have done the rapid testing, and they are using that information to communicate with parents to provide as much information as possible.
"I can't really speak to the total dollar amount of what this could really look like," Foster said. "We are just anxiously waiting to hear back from the laboratory to see what our real results are and those scientific numbers will be what we'll use as an organization to move forward."