A complaint about a stolen purse early Sunday morning resulted in the arrest of two people on child endangerment charges.
About 2:45 a.m., Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Eubanks responded to the Highway 1804 area when a woman reported her purse had been stolen, Sheriff Colan Harrell said in a release.
The victim told Eubanks that Natasha A. Fox, 29, of Litteral Road, had allegedly stolen the purse, and the victim expressed concern for the safety of three children in Fox’s care, the release noted.
About 2:58 a.m., Eubanks went to Fox’s residence and knocked on the door multiple times without receiving a response. Eventually a child came to the door.
When asked where the child’s mother was, the child told police that she was in the bedroom and that the child could not get her awake, according to an arrest citation.
“Deputy Eubanks entered the residence to ensure the safety of the three children,” Harrell said in the release.
Eubanks found a man and woman, who appeared to be passed out in a bedroom laying on the floor, the release noted.
On the floor between the man and woman, Eubanks found Xanax pills and baggies of a substance that looked like crystal methamphetamine, according to an arrest citation.
In the bathroom, police found syringes and a spoon with residue and Xanax bars, according to Fox’s arrest citation.
While continuing his investigation, Eubanks managed to wake the man, Matthew Aaron Watson, 25, of Buck Creek Road. When Eubanks went to retrieve a pair of pants for Watson from the bathroom, he found in a pocket a bottle containing pills and a plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance believed to be meth, the release noted.
Eubanks discovered Xanax, Suboxone and crystal methamphetamine in Watson’s pants pockets, his arrest citation stated.
Eubanks did not recover the purse that he originally went to the residence searching for, Harrell said.
Upon further investigation, all three children, who were ages three, five and 11, were removed from the residence by the Department for Health and Family Services.
Eubanks charged both Fox and Watson with endangering the welfare of a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Watson was also charged with second-offense first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-offense third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Fox was also charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
In addition she was served with an arrest warrant for being a fugitive from Tennessee.
Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center, and pleaded not guilty during their arraignment Monday afternoon before Whitley District Judge Fred White.
White appointed the public advocate’s office to represent both Fox and Watson and scheduled March 14 preliminary hearings in their cases.
White set a $25,000 cash bond in Watson’s case, and he ordered that Fox be held in jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash bond in the endangerment and drug case. He ordered her to be held without bond in the fugitive case.
According to court documents, Fox is wanted in Campbell County, Tennessee, for violating her probation by not reporting to her probation officer, not paying court costs, not paying supervision fees, not completing alcohol and drug assessment and not submitting to random drug screens.