ETX 4-year-old tests positive for meth

By Melanie Torre - email
HENDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A four-year-old East Texas boy has tested positive for methamphetamine use. Now that boy's mother is fighting to keep her son from the people who she says exposed him to the drug.

Amanda Skinner says she became suspicious after her son, Hunter, had a week-long visit with his dad.

"When I went to pick him up from his dad, there was somebody who I know as being a person who does drugs a lot," she says.

Amanda says she asked Hunter what his father did when he had guests over.

"He says, 'Oh they play video games and smoke stuff, but you've got to hold your finger over it to smoke it,' and I was like, 'What!?'"

Amanda took her son to get drug tested. His urine test came back clean, but there were more test results on the way.

"His hair follicle test came back positive for methamphetamine, and I about died," she said.

The drug test shows Hunter's methamphetamine level at 765 pg/mg. Those in the drug testing industry say anything above 500 pg/mg means the person wasn't just around the drug, but ingested it in some way.

"If the child had been sitting right in their lap, or holding them, they could come back with a level this high, but you would hope not to see that in a child," says Bonnie Ingram, a manager at Occupational Care Team, a Tyler drug testing office that handles CPS cases.

"The lab tech guy said the amount he had in his system... either they were giving him direct hits off of it, or they were cooking it around him," Amanda says.

Amanda and her husband's tests came back clean, but Hunter's father and step-mother's did not.

"Both of them...[had levels that were] real high. I would say they have done quite a bit over a period of three months or so," Ingram says.

"You can't explain how that makes you feel," Amanda says wiping away tears.

Amanda says the court ordered Hunter's visits with his dad to remain supervised until September. Then they're back to their old visitation schedule pending a clean drug test.

"My son is allowed to go back to people who were doing things like this to him, and I have no control over it," she says.

Amanda says Child Protective Services sent her a letter notifying her that they'd closed their case. CPS says a closed case means the child is now safe, but Amanda wants to stop it all from happening again.

She filed child endangerment charges against Hunter's father and step-mother in the spring. According to Henderson County, they were both arrested last month, but released just minutes later.

It all leaves Amanda dreading September and trying to find a way to get full custody of her son.

"If they've done it once, what makes you think he's not going to do it again," she asks.

Amanda says she'd thought her son just had a lot of energy for his age, but never imagined his behavior was the result of drugs in his system.

According to court records, Hunter's father and step-mother were arraigned on their child endangerment charges earlier this month. They both plead not-guilty.

Their next court hearings will be in August.

We tried to contact the father, but were unable to leave a message on his voice mail because it was full.

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