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Parents Face Meth, Child Abuse Charges

Sheriff's deputies have arrested two parents after the discovery of a meth lab in Sampson County.

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CLINTON, N.C. — Sampson County sheriff's deputies said they found two toddlers in a dangerous situation when they busted a methamphetamine lab Wednesday.

Jennifer Adkins and Richard Rhodes, both of 8130 U.S. Highway 421 in Clinton, face child abuse charges. Deputies said a 1- and 3-year-old children were inside the couples' home – along with enough components to make up two meth labs.

"It's mind boggling to think someone would do that to their own children," Capt. Eric Pope said.

 Making meth requires explosive chemicals, he added.

Children were living in 20 to 25 percent of homes caught up in meth busts statewide over the past three years, according to State Bureau of Investigation records.

Making meth requires using explosive chemicals that are dangerous to those exposed to them, Pope said.

"Just based off the chemicals alone and the fumes that they produce, it could cause death to someone," Pope said.

A medical exam showed that toddlers found in Clinton have not suffered any effects after being exposed to the chemicals. They had some injuries from scratching flea bites, authorities said.

An anonymous tipster told the state Department of Social Services that the children had sores consistent with the manufacturing of meth.

Neighbors expressed surprise that the children they had seen playing were in such a dangerous situation.

"They're innocent. They didn't know what was going on," neighbor Doris Boykin said.

Boykin said she had noticed different smells coming from the house, the parents burning things in the yard and a lot of people stopping by the house at night.

"It smelled like some kind of chemistry or something," she said.

The toddlers, whose names were not released, were placed in the custody of Social Services.

Adkins and Rhodes also face charges of manufacturing methamphetamines and other violations. Both were being held in the Samspon County Jail Friday night.

Adkins was under a $150,000 bond and Rhodes, under a separate $300,000 bond.