Police said they arrested a man and woman outside a Blount County convenience store Saturday evening after finding the pair in a vehicle with a neglected infant, opioids and various drug paraphernalia.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Lacey Melena Crowder, 27, Madisonville, and Aaron Blake Shapiro, 32, Tellico Plains, on a charge each of aggravated child abuse, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxymorphone), reckless endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Crowder also was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon (brass knuckles). She was being held in lieu of bonds totaling $120,000, while Shapiro was being held in lieu of bonds totaling $95,000. They are scheduled to appear at a 9 a.m. hearing today in Blount County General Sessions Court.
Deputies responded to Rite Stop, 102 Calderwood Highway, Maryville, at 7:40 p.m. Saturday to a suspicious incident involving a man and woman in a vehicle with a very young child, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
When deputies arrived and approached the vehicle, the driver, Crowder, was “visibly nervous, was shaking, stuttering and was unwilling to follow clear and simple commands,” the report states.
Deputies said they then noticed the passenger, Shapiro, had “a plethora of syringes in his lap.”
During their investigation, deputies said they found a 9-month-old girl in the back seat in a “onesie” outfit. The child was “visibly shivering at times, crying and in obvious distress,” the report states.
Deputies discovered the child’s diaper was “excessively wet” and the child had not been given a bottle in several hours, the report states. Deputies reportedly changed the child’s diaper and procured a bottle and formula to provide her.
Custody of the child was turned over to the state Department of Children’s Services.
Deputies said they found numerous syringes, several oxymorphone pills, burnt spoons and “medical-grade tourniquets” in the vehicle.