Police: Mother left young children in car, went in store to use heroin

September 5, 2014
Makayla N. Miller

An East Finley Township woman was arrested Thursday night after Washington police said she left her two young children alone in a parked car for a half-hour while she used heroin in a store’s restroom.

A customer at the store in the 300 block of East Maiden Street said Makayla N. Miller appeared to be “normal” when she walked into the restroom shortly after 6 p.m., but she remained there for nearly 30 minutes.

When she finally left the restroom, Miller, 25, could barely stand and was “disoriented and confused” as she walked to her car in the parking lot, said the customer, who called police. Miller then lay down on the car’s front seat and fell asleep while her son and daughter, whose ages were not released, remained in the vehicle, Washington police Chief Chris Luppino said.

Police said a search of Miller’s car turned up 24 stamp bags, four of which contained suspected heroin, along with nine syringes, caps and rubber bands.

“It’s always a concern,” Luppino said of the children being left alone in the car. “That is definitely an issue. Obviously, we have a serious heroin problem, but I think this is a first for me.”

Luppino did not know the condition of the children at the scene. They were turned over to Children and Youth Services before a relative picked them up, police said.

Miller, whose last known address was on East Finley Drive, was charged with two felony charges of child endangerment, three counts of drug possession, six counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and possession with intent to deliver.

While Miller was being processed at Washington County jail following her arrest, jail guards told city police they found a “bundle” of heroin in her bra. She was then charged with felony possession of contraband, police said.

District Judge Jay Weller arraigned Miller late Thursday night, and she was jailed on $10,000 bond. Her preliminary hearing on the charges is set for 11 a.m. Sept. 18.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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