video preview image

ROSEBURG, Ore. — A Douglas County couple faces child neglect charges after hospital employees say they found drugs in their daughter’s system.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to the Mercy Medical Center late Tuesday night regarding a potential child abuse case.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Officer Dwes Hutson says, “The staff there was dealing with a two-year-old female patient. She had been brought in by her parents because she wasn’t acting normally.”

Deputies say the parents are Michelle Burke and James Pohl. Deputies also say after running some blood tests, emergency room staff say they found methamphetamine in their daughter’s system. Deputies then went with the father to search the home on Rolling Hills Road, where they would find all the evidence they needed to put both parents behind bars.

Hutson says, “Deputies found paraphernalia that had methamphetamine residue and they ended up arresting the male at the residence and went back to the hospital and arrested the female.”

Neighbors say the news raises concerns.

“It scares me, especially since we’ve got two kids here and we try to have a good community to make sure we can let our kids go outside without having to worry about that kind of thing,” says neighbor Jordan Guthrie.

And the whole situation was tough for many to wrap their head around.

“I just don’t know what to say about it because it’s just so reckless you know to be doing drugs in the first place, but to have the paraphernalia and what not laying around your house so that a kid can access it. It’s crazy that a parent would do that,” says Hutson.

Guthrie says, “It’s difficult for me to understand, because that’s a pretty high price to pay for something so stupid.”

Both parents were arraigned Wednesday morning on charges of child neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor and unlawful possession of meth. Their next court date is to still to be determined. The Department of Human Services is now involved to ensure the safety of the child and two other children in the home.