‘She is all we have’: Kids try to ‘hide their mother’s addiction’

A Lake Stevens woman was arrested after allegedly using drugs in an SUV with her kids, ages 3 to 15.

GETCHELL — Six kids were taken into protective custody when a mother was caught using drugs in an SUV full of children east of Marysville, according to police reports filed in court.

A patrol deputy saw the woman smoking from a glass pipe in a vehicle around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Getchell parking lot along the Centennial Trail.

As the Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy rolled into the parking lot, he heard the woman shout to her kids to get in the car. She started the engine and hit the gas before they were fully inside, with a door still open, according to the deputy’s report.

The driver accelerated toward the only exit of the gravel lot. The deputy blocked the exit and braced for a head-on collision, he wrote. She stopped short by about 15 feet.

The deputy reported he saw evidence of drug use in plain view inside the SUV: burnt tin foil, a glass “meth pipe,” torches and a bloody syringe.

The mood of the Lake Stevens woman took dramatic swings as she talked with police. She seemed lethargic one moment, agitated the next, “consistent with someone who uses a drug cocktail of two different substances throughout the day,” according to the police reports.

“The focus of my investigation suddenly changed drastically,” wrote deputy Edgar Smith. “I observed several of the children in the vehicle appeared to be attempting to hide some of the drug paraphernalia under their shoes or had placed items on top of paraphernalia” that he’d already seen.

The kids ranged in age from 3 to 15. They begged the deputy not to take their mom away, because “she is all we have.”

“I looked at them,” the deputy wrote, “and realized they had been conditioned to protect or hide their mother’s addiction. I looked at them a little longer noticing that their eyes were tired, they were dirty, they looked hungry, and they had scrapes and bruises on most of their bodies.”

The SUV was littered with trash, he wrote, and the only food was a bag of cheese puffs. The kids told the deputy they live in the vehicle, and sometimes their mom would drop them off at a friend’s house and leave them there for a while.

The woman identified herself by an alias and gave a date of birth that would make her 30 years old, according to the reports. She’s 45.

One of the kids later gave her legal name to deputies. She had fresh injection marks on her arms. Some looked swollen and infected.

She was arrested for investigation of felony reckless endangerment with a controlled substance, another count of reckless endangerment and making a false statement to a public servant. She was in jail last week with bail set at $50,000.

The children were given food and necessities and taken into custody by state Child Protective Services.

King County court records show a different alias was listed as the woman’s “real name” in another similar case in Seattle. She’d been caught driving a Ford Explorer with stolen license plates in the South Park neighborhood.

She led police on a brief chase Sept. 14, 2017, to a covered bay of a warehouse, where she stuck her foot out the door before the SUV stopped — “as if she was about to exit out of the vehicle while it was still in movement,” Seattle police wrote.

The driver braked and quickly walked away with the engine still running. Her daughter, then 12, hopped out of the vehicle and fled. She was chased down. Seated in the Ford were four other kids and a man identified as their father, who has 23 felony convictions on his record. The woman told police she ran because she had to use the bathroom. The steering column of the car had been stripped, and the ignition switch was damaged.

In that case, the mother pleaded guilty in July 2018 to vehicle prowling and third-degree theft. Her plea agreement suggested five days on a jail work crew. She did not show up to a sentencing in September, however, and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

That warrant was still active last week.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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