Casper Woman Denies Endangering Child With Methamphetamine
A woman who has previously been called in for welfare checks due to concerns that she was endangering children with methamphetamine pleaded not guilty to two charges brought against her Thursday in Natrona County District Court.
Kaela Kristine Walsh, 33, is charged with felony child endangering with methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine. She could face up to six years behind bars and $6,000 in fines if convicted on both counts.
Walsh was arrested Nov. 11 at about 9 p.m. after a Casper police officer stopped Walsh's SUV for straddling the center lines on K Street.
Court documents say during the traffic stop, the officer saw a three- or four-year-old child on the front passenger seat without a proper child restraint. Walsh allegedly said the lack of proper restraint was her fault, and the officer wrote a citation.
The officer asked Walsh to get out of the car to speak with him for a moment, and Walsh agreed. The affidavit adds that the officer had received information that Walsh had been using methamphetamine, though it does not specify how.
Court documents say Walsh had been called in for two separate welfare checks on children. The first was on Oct. 4 "to check on children due to Walsh using methamphetamine," court documents say. The second was Nov. 5 due to concerns for the children in Walsh's apartment.
Walsh reportedly gave the officer permission to search her vehicle, and the officer allegedly found a methamphetamine pipe in Walsh's purse, which was on the floorboard directly in front of the child in the passenger seat.
Walsh was arrested, and the child was taken into protective custody.
Court documents say Walsh told officers that there were two syringes in her purse as well, one clean and one used.
The officer reportedly explained to Walsh that the child, who had been playing with Walsh's wallet during the traffic stop, could just as easily have been playing with the drug paraphernalia in her purse.
The officer said the child could have been struck by the dirty syringe or ingested methamphetamine residue from the pipe.
Walsh apologized and allegedly admitted to injecting five or six units of liquid methamphetamine the previous morning and smoking methamphetamine at about 3 a.m. that morning, according to the affidavit.
Walsh later retrieved a small bag containing .72 grams of methamphetamine from her bra, the affidavit says, before being booked into the Natrona County Detention Center.
Walsh remains free on bond.