A day care worker is being held on felony charges after it was discovered she built an imaginative “drug den” inside a YMCA laundry room cabinet where she hid to smoke meth while on the job working with infants.
According to the court docs, Autumn Sienna Heinz (above) faces charges of criminal endangerment of a child, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of dangerous drugs after the facility in Missoula, Montana tested positive for meth contamination, “specifically including the infant room.”
Police say Heinz’s coworker told the YMCA Learning Center‘s director on April 10 that she’d discovered the 30-year-old allegedly “hiding in or beneath a cabinet in a strangely constructed hiding spot that can be described as a ‘drug den,'” along with a possible “drug kit.”
Per the complaint, the responding officer was reportedly taken to the laundry room in the center of the facility and “shown the double cabinet that was located under a shelf.” Cloth was stapled around the cabinet doors from the inside that “appeared to be intended to block the odor of smoked drugs from escaping the cabinet.”
A glass pipe was found in a hard case inside the cabinet, along with “some sparkly lighters” and a plastic tube “full of white crystals,” which later tested positive for meth.
Heinz told police she began caring for infants ranging in age from six weeks to 18 months full time about three years ago. According to the complaint, the day care worker “admitted to constructing the cabinet about three weeks ago.”
The document added:
“She stated she put up the cloth to block out the light and also installed shelves, a light, and had some of her lollipops in the cabinet. She stated she made this area to go on breaks and get away.”
Heinz also told authorities she had an addiction to opioid pills and had used heroin before she started attending a methadone clinic from 2013 to sometime in 2016 or 2017.
The complaint went on to detail that “people using illegal drugs will commonly exhale into a ventilation fan to try to avoid detection of the odor of the drug being smoked.”
For that reason, the complaint alleges, “the meth fumes appear to have permeated the whole Learning Center.”
The YMCA Learning Center released a statement of its own, stating it will shut down the facility for at least 30 days to assess and clean up the contamination, including those areas that did not test positive for meth contamination. It will then re-test, re-inspect, re-approve and re-certify the facility for childcare services, which currently are being handled at another location.
Heinz is being held in the Missoula County jail with $30,000 bond on each count.
[Image via Missoula County Jail.]