Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Parents Arrested For Allegedly Growing Marijuana In Infant's Closet

WTOV 9

Two St. Clairsville parents allegedly left their infant home alone while they went shoplifting - and when police found the baby, they discovered marijuana plants growing in the child's closet.

Toni Scott, 18, and the child's father, 21-year-old John Fekete, also of St. Clairsville, have been charged with the crimes.

Belmont County Sheriff Fred Thompson said the pair was detained for shoplifting at the Wal-Mart in Richland Township early Tuesday. At that time, officers overheard Scott saying she needed someone to watch her child. Police then asked her who was watching the child. Scott replied that a neighbor was caring for the boy, but stated she did not know the person's name.

Police went to her home, found the door open, and discovered the 3-month-old boy home alone.

Thompson said officers then checked the home for baby supplies so they could turn the boy over to Children's Services. They then discovered 12 marijuana plants growing in the child's closet.

During a court appearance Tuesday afternoon, the couple declined to make a plea until they had a chance to talk to a lawyer. After the hearing, Fekete said the whole case is a misunderstanding.

"The kid is taken good care of," Fekete said. "This is just a big misunderstanding. It'll be taken care of. We are good parents."

Scott and Fekete also denied the allegations of drugs growing in their child's closet.

"That isn't true," said Fekete. "Our child sleeps in our room."

"We had a sitter and she left," added Scott. "She left him alone while we weren't there so that's not our problem, that's her problem."

Sheriff Thompson said he does not believe the parents left their child in the care of a neighbor.

Police said a small amount of marijuana was found on a kitchen table near a diaper bag. Deputies also confiscated Xanax and Ambian from the home.

Scott and Fekete are charged with theft, child endangerment and cultivation of marijuana.

The child has been released to relatives.

By Renee Cardelli & Jill Del Greco

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