A 6-year-old Washington boy and his younger sisters were regularly injected by their parents with heroin — their “medicine” — in order to make them fall asleep, prosecutors allege.
Both parents have been charged, authorities said, and the children have been removed from their care.
Ashlee Rose Hutt, 24, and her 25-year-old boyfriend, Leroy McIver, allegedly referred to the illicit street drug as “feel good medicine” while administering it to their kids — ages 6, 4 and 2 — Pierce County prosecutors said in a statement.
Hutt was charged earlier this week with three counts of criminal mistreatment in the second degree, three counts of assault of a child in the second degree and three counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to a person under 18, according to the prosecutor’s statement.
She is being held on $100,000 bail, according to police.
McIver was charged with the same crimes in September, according to the statement; and he, too, remains in police custody — though it was unclear Wednesday what amount had been set for his bail.
Hutt and McIver have pleaded not guilty to their charges, according to court records and KIRO7. Their attorneys did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
The prosecutor’s statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE, reveals an investigation into both Hutt and McIver began in November 2015, when the couple’s three children were removed from their Spanaway, Washington, home by child welfare investigators. (Reports conflict about whether McIver is the biological father of all three children.)
The kids are in foster care and “doing well,” a Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman told KIRO7.
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The state’s child protective services agency visited the couple’s home and allegedly discovered that “multiple individuals lived at the residence and everyone was using heroin,” according to prosecutors.
Rat droppings and drug needles were also found at the home, according to KIRO7, citing court documents.
“They made a determination that abuse and neglect of the children had occurred,” prosecutors said. “They noted marks, cuts, and bruises on one of the children’s bodies. They also noted the bruises appeared to be injection marks with bruising.”
The oldest of the three children told police McIver has allegedly “choked” him and his siblings “on more than one occasion,” and he alleged “his mom and dad give him and his sisters the ‘feel good medicine,’ which he described as a white powder mixed with water.”
His parents, the boy told investigators, allegedly “used a needle to inject the ‘feel good medicine’ into him and his sisters and the medicine put them to sleep.”
Tests performed by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab supported the child’s claims, according to prosecutors. Hair follicles from the 2-year-old girl tested positive for heroin, and the 4-year-old girl also showed signs of heroin in her system — but the level did not meet the threshold for a positive test.
The boy tested negative for drugs.
The statement alleges both Hutt and McIver admitted to being heroin users under police questioning.