This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kids at meth scenes take toll on police

Matthew Thompson
Daily Mail staff

Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford said methamphetamine busts in homes where children are present are taking a growing emotional toll on his officers.

Last week, deputies carried out such two such raids.

"The poor kids just don't have a choice," Rutherford said. "These little kids are being put into a situation where their health is in jeopardy. It's just really sad."

Deputies arrested Avery Caroll Anderson, 30, and Marion DaLynn Harless, 27, at a home on Fore Drive in Charleston. There were two young children, whose ages weren't listed, and an 8-month-old infant at the residence.

Anderson and Harless each were charged with operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory and three counts of exposure of children to meth manufacturing.

The second bust occurred at a home at 1906 Iris Drive near Sissonville, where four children from 1 to 17 were found.

Heather Gae McNamara, 35, was arrested and charged with attempting to operate a clandestine drug lab and exposing children to meth production.

Rutherford said when children are discovered in these situations, deputies immediately escort them from the home. They then call the state Department of Health and Human Resources, and the children are taken into protective custody.

Last year, the state removed 158 children from homes where meth-making was suspected. About 122 children were removed in the region that includes Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell counties.

Only 13 children were taken from homes with suspected meth labs in the Wheeling, Morgantown and Parkersburg areas. Seven came from the Martinsburg and Elkins area, and about 16 children were removed in Beckley, Princeton and Bluefield.

Rutherford said the department mainly sees children between the ages of 2 and 7. And he said the appearance of young children living in sometimes-squalid conditions is tough for his deputies.

"It really takes a toll on the officers," Rutherford said. "To think these little kids are being put into a dangerous situation like this. You could almost cry from the way they are treated."

Some meth-making takes place in motel rooms or in the outdoors, but Rutherford said a vast majority occurs at the homes of suspects. In turn, children become affected physically from toxic meth-making chemicals.

"Also, a lot of times, these kids appear to be unkempt," Rutherford said. "The people get so wrapped up in using meth, they have a tendency to not take care of the kids."

In March 2005, in response to the growing meth problem, a special meth tip line was set up.

The number is 357-4693.

But even with the tip line and a commensurate increase in meth busts, Rutherford said the fight is far from over.

"Although it slows down from time to time, we are still expecting to see more," he said. "It's a highly addictive drug."

Contact writer Matthew Thompson at or 348-4834.


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