Couple faces neglect charges

Police: Adults stored pot in kid’s sippy cups

GREENFIELD – A local couple smoked pot while caring for two young children, using a one the kid’s sippy cups to store their marijuana, according to court documents.

Michelle Key and William Russell, both 31, of Greenfield, are in jail this week after officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the local motel room the couple shared with two young children, court documents state.

Now, they each face four criminal charges, including two felony counts of neglect of a dependent – one for each child police have accused them of endangering, according to court documents.

Officers say Key and Russell were arguing loudly late last week outside the Greenfield motel room they lived in. When police arrived to investigate the disturbance, they smelled burnt marijuana coming from inside the motel room, according to court documents.

Police searched the room, and they found buds of plant-like material on one of the two beds in the room. They also found five rolled marijuana cigarettes, a grinder and a digital scale, which is commonly used to weigh drugs, court documents state.

A child’s cup found inside the room was being used to store the drugs, court documents state.

Two young children were in the room at the time, officers said, noting in their reports the drugs were within arm’s reach of where the kids were playing and where they slept.

Key and Russell were both questioned by investigators prior to their arrest.

Key told officers the marijuana was Russell’s, though the man insisted the drugs did not belong to him, court documents state.

Key told police she and Russell smoked pot while the children were in their care, court documents state.

Key told police the couple didn’t smoke in front of the children. Instead, they stepped outside to use the drugs, she said, according to court documents.

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Child Services came to the motel and removed the two children from the couple’s care. They were placed with foster parents, according to court documents.

Key and Russell were arrested and taken to the Hancock County Jail, where they remained at press time.

Each is being held on $2,000 cash bond, according to jail records.

Key and Russell each face four criminal charges: two Level 6 felony counts of neglect of a dependent; one Class B misdemeanor of possession of marijuana; and one Class C misdemeanor of possession of paraphernalia.

Each Level 6 felony count carries a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in jail. The Class B misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail, and the Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail.

Both cases are filed in Hancock County Superior Court II. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty to the allegations they face.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.