Deputies say daycare doubled as meth lab

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by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 21 at 11:38 PM

(KMOV) -- News 4 has new information about a daycare center that deputies say doubled as a meth lab.  Deputies have arrested Christopher Ingram, the man who was allegedly making the meth inside the Washington, Missouri home, but his wife -- the day care provider -- is back home, pending charges. 

We first told you about the raid in Franklin County on Saturday. 

Parents may have been surprised but police weren't. They'd been tracking the alarming amount of pseudoephedrine the Ingrams had been buying. And it's the main ingredient to make meth.

It was enough to make police curious about what was brewing in the basement of this at-home daycare.  These photos, courtesy of the Washington Missourian, show the makings of a meth lab.  Police think Christopher Ingram had been cooking it for quite some time.  They believe his wife was high when they arrived.  The six children in the house were napping.

"There was some finished meth found that was in the office of the daycare that could have been in reach of some of the toddler children," Cpl. Scott Briggs of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department said.

Cpl. Briggs said deputies recovered a scale and three grams of meth, which has a street value of about $500.  They also discovered chemicals and a set-up consistent with making methamphetamine in the driveway and garage area of the daycare.  Several toys were strewn about that same driveway when we shot video of the home.

Brendan and Bailey have gone to the Ingrams since they were infants.  Both kids were there when deputies raided the home.

"I didn't know if I wanted to be livid or just wanted to cry," Julie Boyce, the children's mother, said.

Boyce says she had no idea that the daycare was disguising the alleged meth-maker's lab.

"No, not at all, I mean when you walked in her house the first thing you saw was arts and crafts and paints on the wall," Boyce said.

She's now keeping a close eye on her kids for side-effects.  Children exposed to meth or the meth-making operation might experience a range of symptoms including headaches, coughing or vomiting.

"We're concerned abort changes in vital signs like high blood pressure and rapid heart rate," Dr. Douglas Durand, pediatrician at St. John's Mercy in Washington, said.  "General symptoms like changes in mood or behavior are also a concern."  Dr. Durand has treated a couple of the children who went to the Ingrams.

The Ingrams could face charges of possessing and manufacturing meth, plus child endangerment.

"I'm just afraid that they're going to still be making it over there," Billie Jo Brennan said.  She lives across the street from the Ingrams.

Deputies say it's a valid concern since the drugs must be tested before charges can be filed -- a process that takes as long as nine months.

"I'm just glad my kids are safe," Boyce said.  'I'm just glad that it didn't blow up, otherwise I never would have been able to live with myself."

The Department of Family Services is now working with each child's parent to make sure the Ingrams will no longer care for their kids.

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