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Former Boyceville woman arraigned on charges of child neglect and reckless endangerment

By Cara L. Dempski

MENOMONIE — A 32-year-old Knapp woman was in Dunn County Circuit Court last week regarding multiple charges of child neglect, reckless endangerment, and possession of illegal substances.

Aleisha L. Downey, formerly of Boyceville, appeared before Judge James Peterson on February 19 in relation to four charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety, four charges of neglecting a child, one charge of methamphetamine possession, one charge of possession of THC with intent to sell (less than, or equal to 200 grams), and one charge with possession of drug paraphernalia to manufacture, compound, convert, produce, or store methamphetamine.

She pled not guilty to all charges.

According to the criminal complaint associated with the case, Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin executed a search warrant on Downey’s home at the time in Boyceville for items taken in a theft from the local public library.

The drug paraphernalia and three baggies of THC/marijuana were found under what was determined to be Downey’s bed after officers were forced to break a padlock to enter the room. The complaint indicated the weights of the three bags of marijuana were 15.33 grams, 13.61 grams, and 6.04 grams.

All the drug-related items found in Downey’s bedroom field-tested positive for either marijuana or methamphetamine, and a lab test of a hair sample from the youngest child in the home later tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.

The complaint also indicated the subsequent search of the home by Lamkin and several other law enforcement officers raised serious concerns regarding the living conditions. The complaint indicates there were beds for three of the four children in the home in the basement, which had no egress windows, and clothing and other items were strewn on the floor or on top of furniture in plastic bags.

The fourth child reportedly slept in the mudroom area at the front of the house, while one of the children reportedly expected to sleep in the basement actually slept on the couch in the living room because he did not like sleeping downstairs.

Lamkin’s concern about exposed wiring, the use of multiple extension cords, and standing water on the basement floor were also noted in the complaint, as was the condition of the kitchen on the main floor, which reportedly contained little food, and dishes which appeared to be growing mold.

According to the complaint, the Department of Human Services was contacted, and the responding workers agreed with Lamkin’s assessment that the home was not safe.

Each count of neglect of a child is considered a class A misdemeanor, and can be punished by up to nine months imprisonment, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both, and second-degree recklessly endangering safety is a class G felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both per count.

Possession of methamphetamine and possession with intent to deliver THC less than, or equal to, 200 grams are both class I felonies, and can be penalized with up to three years and six months in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class H felony, with a maximum punishment of six years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both.

Downey is also charged in two other cases with felony bail jumping, two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping and operating a motor vehicle while revoked, battery, and criminal damage to property.

Online court records indicate the battery and criminal damage charges were dismissed on the prosecutor’s motion, and she accepted a deferred prosecution on the misdemeanor bail-jumping charge stemming from a 2016 incident involving alleged damage to her former significant other’s vehicle and one he was trying to remove from her father’s property.

The Wisconsin Consolidated Court Automated Program records also indicate Downey is scheduled for a status conference in another case where she is charged with both felony and misdemeanor bail-jumping and operating a motor vehicle on a revoked license in July 2017.

Both that case and the one involving the child neglect, possession, and reckless endangerment charges are scheduled for a status conference in front of Judge Peterson at 9 a.m. May 7, with a motion hearing scheduled for April 24 at 4 p.m.