Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 1, 2014

Children taken into custody, found alone with paraphernalia

TAHLEQUAH — Three children were taken into state custody over the weekend after they were discovered home alone amid various drug-related items.

Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said police responded to apartments on Pamela Street when a resident claimed another woman had forced her way into the apartment.

The woman told police the suspect, 35-year-old Teffany Stipe, was a friend. But she said he was not given permission to be at the apartment and had been told to leave.

Stipe was found in a bedroom, sleeping on a bed. Keele said he woke Stipe, who had slurred speech and appeared to be disoriented.

“I asked Stipe why she was in the residence and she advised that she was just checking on [the tenant] and kept saying it over and over,” said Keele.

Stipe was arrested for first-degree burglary and public intoxication.

“While walking towards the front door, Stipe stated, ‘Oh, but my kids,’ and she started screaming,” Keele reported. “I asked her over and over who was with her kids.”

Stipe allegedly told police her children were with another woman and were OK, but police said that woman was actually at the apartment and said she had not been asked to watch Stipe’s children.

Officers went to Stipe’s apartment and an 11-year-old boy answered the door. A smaller boy and girl were sleeping on the floor.

Police said the children claimed they had been home alone “for quite some time.”

“The residence appeared to be [unkempt] and unclean,” Keele said.

One child told officers a group of people had been at the house, the children fell asleep, and when they awoke, the adults were all gone.

“I looked down on the kitchen table and saw a rolled-up cigarette that had a green, leafy substance inside of it,” Keele said.

Keele said he could also see rolling papers and other items inside the home.

Special District Judge Holli Wells approved a search warrant for the home and officers seized a marijuana joint, a jar of marijuana on the stove, a bag of marijuana stems in a kitchen cabinet, a marijuana pipe, a pill bottle, marijuana seeds and other items.

The Department of Human Services took the three children into custody.

Stipe was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center for first-degree burglary, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts of child endangerment, and three counts of child neglect. She was still being held without bond Monday, booking records show.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

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