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8:50am — 3-Year-Old Tests Positive for Meth

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Las Cruces woman, ex-boyfriend indicted on charges of child abuse.

Sarah Wharton, 25, and her ex-boyfriend, 24-year-old Dave Copeland, both of Las Cruces, were indicted by a Dona Ana County grand jury Tuesday on child-abuse charges after the woman's 3-year-old child tested positive for methamphetamines, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.

The two were arrested last Wednesday and were booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center where they remained in custody on $50,000 bonds apiece, the Sun-News said.

According to court records, Las Cruces police were called to Copeland's home earlier this month after a report of a small child being left unsupervised, the paper said.


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Once they arrived, officers found drug paraphernalia as well as marijuana growing under a plant light, the Sun-News reported.

Police said Wharton told them she had dated Copeland and continued to live at his home with her two children despite breaking up with him, the paper said.

She also told police that she didn't use drugs, although officers noted marks on her arms consistent with drug use, according to records cited by the Sun-News.

Wharton's two children, who were not fathered by Copeland, were tested for drugs, and the 3-year-old tested positive for methamphetamine while the 7-year-old did not, authorities said.

Copeland admitted owning the marijuana plants and to using methamphetamine, while Wharton declined to be tested pending consultation with her attorney, the Sun-News reported.

During a safe-house interview, one of the children allegedly told interviewers that Copeland once discharged a firearm inside the house while trying to kill a spider crawling on a pillow, the Sun-News said.

Each was indicted Tuesday on two counts of negligent child abuse, third-degree felonies, the paper said.