Officers with the Crockett Police Department arrested a 31-year-old burglary suspect on a child endangerment charge Tuesday in connection to allegations that he was living in an “extremely filthy and cluttered” house filled with dangerous chemicals like embalming fluid and drug paraphernalia.
Sam Barkley Lenox, of Crockett, was arrested and charged with state-jail felony abandoning or endangering a child and Class C misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the arrest affidavit, a complainant contacted the Crockett Police Department about a burglary that occurred at her property at 1408 East Houston. She told police that an unknown person and broken into a building on the property.
When the CPD officer arrived on the scene, he began investigating the burglary and found that it was located behind a house on the property. The complainant told the officer that the house is currently being rented and that she suspected one of the renters of being the one who broke into the building, the affidavit stated.
At that point, the complainant said she wanted to do an inspection of the rent house and asked the officer to join her as she did so. After they got permission to enter the home, they noticed a man, a woman, and two small children in the living room.
As the CPD officer joined the property owner on the inspection, he noticed that the house “was extremely filthy and cluttered,” the affidavit stated. In the affidavit, the officer said there was garbage all over the floors and tables and pet feces on the carpet in the bedroom where the children appeared to sleep.
The CPD officer and the property owner went into a bathroom, and the officer saw various types of drug paraphernalia, including drug pipes, burning devices, various containers used to hold drugs, copper pennies, copper scrap, batteries, etc., the affidavit stated.
“Through my training and experiences, I knew that these items were commonly used in the making of illegal narcotics and the pipes were used to smoke these illegal substances,” the officer wrote in the affidavit.
As a result, the CPD officer consulted with other officers and got a warrant to search the home.
When CPD officers executed the search warrant, it “absolutely confirmed the filthiness of this residence.” According to the affidavit, there were a great deal of glass containers with unknown liquid within easy reach of the children that lived in the home. One was labeled, “embalming chemical.”
The affidavit listed the warnings on the embalming chemical label: “combustible liquid, harmful if swallowed, toxic to contact with skin, fatal if inhaled, causes severe skin burns and eye damage, causes serious eye damage, may cause an allergic skin reaction, suspected of causing genetic defects, may cause cancer, may cause respiratory irritation, and toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.” Eight bottles with the liquid of various sizes and shapes were found in the bathroom within easy reach of the small children, the affidavit stated. The liquid later tested positive for methamphetamine and PCP. Chief Buddy Cross with the Crockett Police Department said that the liquids will be sent to a lab for confirmation, and that if they were illegal narcotics, Lenox could be facing felony manufacture and/or delivery charges as well.
Child Protective Services was notified, and children were placed into another family member’s custody.
When CPD officers interviewed the children’s parents, they learned that the bathroom is a community bathroom and is the only one in the residence, the affidavit stated. As a result, everyone in the home, including the children, used it. The affidavit also stated that the bathroom just has a sink and a toilet and that there is no bathtub.