Child Found In Meth Lab Bust

Mother Charged With Child Abuse

Police said that during a meth lab drug bust on Monday, they found a little girl living in the most "deplorable conditions" they've ever seen.

In the video released by the North Metro Drug Task Force, piles of chemicals and trash can be seen stacked high inside the home, where police say methamphetamine was being illegally manufactured.

Two adults were arrested, including the mother and uncle of the 8-year-old girl. Police said the child had lice and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

"There was exposed wiring inside this house and the chemicals, explosive material, loaded weapons. And all of this with an 8-year-old inside the home. There was no care or concern about the little girl," said North Metro Task Force Lt. Lori Moriarty.

Ironically, on the same day that the drug bust occurred state senators passed a bill that would amend the definition of child abuse to include the manufacture of meth in the presence of a child. That bill awaits the governor's signature.

"Today's meth bust is just another example of why this bill needs to be passed to protect innocent children," Moriarty said. "A lot of the abuse children may suffer due to living in a meth lab may not be easily identifiable on scene to officers, such as lung damage done to a child's lungs when he or she breathes in hazardous chemicals. Meth manufacturers and users make horrible parents. They love their children but they love the drug more. This bill helps remove the children from the home to protect them."

According to police, the girl had not been to school in seven weekdays. The girl was taken into protective custody by Adams County Social Services.

The Adams County Sheriff's Department discovered the meth lab when they were called anonymously to do a child welfare check on the girl.

When deputies arrived at the home on 8000 block of North Washington Street just before 10 a.m., they found a woman and her child on the front porch.

The woman told officers that her brother was inside the home manufacturing methamphetamine and that he was armed. Police entered the home and were able to arrest the man, Joel Novachich, 32, without incident.

Novachich is charged with manufacturing of meth, possession of equipment and chemicals necessary to manufacture meth, and child abuse.

The mother, Jeannette Hawthorne, 39, was charged with child abuse.

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