A day care worker built a personal “drug den” inside a laundry room cabinet at a YMCA in Montana, where she smoked methamphetamine that eventually permeated every room in the entire building, authorities said.
Autumn Sienna Heinz, 30, remains held Monday on $30,000 bail on charges of criminal endangerment, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal mischief following her April 10 arrest, jail records show.
Heinz, who primarily worked with infants at the YMCA Learning Center in Missoula, was spotted by other employees in the past month taking breaks of up to 45 minutes at a time, KULR reports.
Another employee also noticed Heinz hiding inside a large cabinet inside the facility’s laundry room, where she had been carrying what appeared to be a drug kit, according to the station.
YMCA officials then contacted police last week and responding officers found the hidden “drug den” inside the double cabinet, where a piece of cloth was hung inside in an apparent attempt to stop fumes from escaping, The Missoulian reports.
There was also a way to lock the cabinet from the inside, according to the newspaper, and officers found a case with a glass pipe and a substance that tested positive for meth.
Heinz allegedly told police during an interview that she built the cabinet three weeks ago, but requested an attorney when asked about the drugs found inside. She also told police that she started visiting a methadone clinic in 2013 after using heroin, but stopped at some point within the last two years because she no longer needed treatment, according to court records.
An environmental consulting firm responded to the facility and conducted initial surface testing that found meth fumes had permeated every room at the day care and that cleanup costs could exceed $80,000, KULR reports, citing court documents.
Lee Yelin of Water Rights Inc. in Missoula testified that Heinz also smoked meth in the employee bathroom and exhaled it into the vent fan, causing every room in the building to test positive for meth contamination, including the infant room.
“The charging document has additional information given to authorities by the company the YMCA hired to test the facility,” YMCA officials wrote parents in an email obtained by the station. “Some of this information is new to us and it notes that ‘every room in the building has tested positive.’ … The Y would like to once again encourage families to at the minimum contact their primary care providers/pediatricians and/or First Step to discuss testing and/or evaluations of their children.”
The facility announced Wednesday that it would close for the rest of the week following Heinz’s arrest, according to The Missoulian.
A message from The Post seeking additional comment from YMCA officials was not immediately returned Monday.
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