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Baby burned in suspected Hoke meth lab

Posted February 3, 2011
Updated February 4, 2011

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— While breaking up a suspected methamphetamine lab Thursday morning, Hoke County deputies found a 4-month-old boy suffering from chemical burns, authorities said.

The baby was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville for treatment, but his condition was unknown.

Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said the burns appeared to have occurred a while ago, and the baby was crying and appeared to be in a great deal of pain Thursday morning when deputies raided a mobile home at 165 Water Splash Road, off U.S. Highway 401 east of Raeford.

Hoke County meth lab Baby burned in suspected Hoke meth lab

"According to the injuries, the child should have been cared for a long time ago," Peterkin said. "Just from where the burns were on the child, it appears they were handling the child and handling the chemicals."

Two people were arrested at the mobile home, and four others were arrested at the Old Raeford Inn nearby.

Samuel Junior Weatherford, 46, and Michelle Lynn Tiller, 42, both of 165 Water Splash Road, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances. The names of the other four people arrested hadn't been released as of Thursday evening.

Peterkin said the baby didn't belong to any of the six people arrested, and investigators haven't determined where his parents are. The baby has been placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

The drug operation appears to have been operating for several months, the sheriff said, noting that his deputies received a tip about it last week and began investigating.

"It's a mess. It's not livable. It's basically just like a big lab," he said. "(They were) trying to increase the amount of (meth) cooking each week. It was picking up."

The man who owns the motel and the trailer park is cooperating with investigators, Peterkin said, adding that the man apparently had no knowledge of the drug activity.

Pam Jones, who works at the ABC Learning Center across U.S. 401 from the motel, also was unaware of a drug lab operating within sight of a day care that looks after 50 children each day.

"It's a very secret operation, but I'm glad it's over with. Hopefully, the baby will be all right," Jones said.

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  • nano Feb 4, 2011

    Poor little guy. Let's hope for a chance for a decent life for him; this is too frightening.

  • Evidence Is Everywhere Feb 4, 2011

    I'd be interested to know if the man who "owns" the trailer park lives there. Has anyone on this post ever smell someone who worked in a meth lab? I would rather stand in a wind tunnel of urine than ever smell a methamphetamine soaked person. The smell carries a bit of a distance and is distinct. If the man who owned that trailer park lived there...he knew about it.

  • esprg Feb 4, 2011

    "God Bless this sweet baby." Shortcake53
    Ditto that!

  • phoydogg Feb 4, 2011

    I just hate hearing things about babies and old people who are defenseless against these monsters! That motel manager does know what goes on in his properties because only felons and people who participate in criminal activities are the only ones who rent from him. Here is a guy from another country capitalizing on our misguided americans and his defense will be...I don't speak english!! Poor baby, I'm glad he will be properly taken care of now.

  • fourfivesix Feb 4, 2011

    this is horrible. that poor kid :( i hope they find his parents & prosecute them, as well as the meth heads.

    and @rhowerton, you pluralize with just a S, not an apostrophe. you use apostrophes for possession.

  • Dogpatch Feb 3, 2011

    Just sickening. Meth removes all humanity from the brain.

  • shortcake53 Feb 3, 2011

    God Bless this sweet baby. It breaks my heart that this has been its life. I pray it is given to a family who will love it and cherish it, as it should be. They wont print what I want to happen to the "parents".

  • froggygirl Feb 3, 2011

    People nearby had no knowledge of the drug lab? Really, when a meth lab makes a horrible smell that carries? Yes, I have smelled it, and yes, that lab got busted, thank goodness.

  • autogirl1 Feb 3, 2011

    Thank goodness for whomever turned these, let's just say, criminals in...now the baby can get the help it deserves and hopefully the parents will give the child up for adoption. We need more eyes and ears towards these secret labs and definitely more attention to abused and neglected children!

  • rhowerton Feb 3, 2011

    FIRST OF ALL I AM GLAD THEY GOT THE METH LAB. NOW THEY NEED THE BABY'S SO CALLED PARENT'S. THE CHILD NEED'S TO BE IN A HOME WHERE HE CAN BE LOVED NOT BURNED OVER DRUG'S. GOD LOVE THIS BABY AND TAKE CARE OF HIM. SORRY PARENT'S

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