Local News

Baby found in Hoke meth lab recovering

Posted February 4, 2011 3:57 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2011 6:59 p.m. EST

— A 4-month-old baby that Hoke County deputies found when they raided a suspected methamphetamine lab is recovering from chemical burns, authorities said Friday.

The boy suffered second- and third-degree burns on his chest and under his arms, Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. He was in good condition at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville.

"If we'd waited a few days longer, who knows? With the injuries on him, there's no telling what would have happened," Peterkin said.

Six people were arrested Thursday when deputies broke up the drug lab in a mobile home at 165 Water Splash Road, off U.S. Highway 401 east of Raeford.

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.

Four other people were arrested at the nearby Old Raeford Inn in the case. Ashley April Anne Goins, 20, of Red Springs, Doris Chrinette Myers, 56, of Raeford, and Larry Andre Wiggins, 59, of Raeford, were each charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Billy Ray Cummings, 26, of Raeford, was charged with possession of marijuana.

Tiller was the baby's grandmother, Peterkin said. The child's father is in jail in Summerville, S.C., and authorities don't know where the mother is, he said.

"We are making some progress in maybe locating her," he said.

Tiller also has been charged with child abuse.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that this kid had to be at the doctor's office," the sheriff said. "We can endure pain a little bit more at our age, as an adult or even a teenager, but when you got an infant who can't tell you where they're hurting, they can't tell you when it hurts, that's bad."

The baby has been placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services, and Peterkin said he has already received several calls from people wanting to adopt the child.

"We know there are people that would be proud to have a son and raise this child, give him a life," he said.