MUNCIE — City police say a mother suspected of possessing meth abandoned a toddler at the side of a motel swimming pool in an escape attempt when they showed up to arrest her.
The events leading to the apprehension of Amy Dale Wheeler, 34, 707 S. Umbarger Road, on Saturday night began on Friday night when police stopped two mo-peds at 14th and Shipley streets.
One of the mo-peds, which was stolen, was being ridden by a juvenile boy who was Wheeler’s son, according to city police officer Brian Jackson.
During the traffic stop, Jackson said he learned that Wheeler, who had been evicted from Pinewood Apartments, had left the boy, his two brothers and a sister in the custody of her parents because a warrant had been issued for her arrest.
“I was advised she sells her food stamps for drugs and does not help with buying food for her children,” Jackson said in an affidavit of probable cause. “I also learned she was currently at the Best Western (3011 W. Bethel Ave.) with … her children swimming. I was told she may have drugs in her possession while watching her children as well.”
When Jackson and another officer approached Wheeler at the indoor pool, she was holding a young child.
“She put the child, looking to be around 12 to 18 months, down next to the pool, then quickly walked to the west door exit,” Jackson reported.
Ignoring two “stop, police” commands, Wheeler allegedly ran but did not make it far before she was caught and handcuffed after trying to pull away while her arms were pinned behind her back.
A 12-year-old child was holding the younger child, who turned out to be age 1. Jackson said he saw the 12-year-old grab the toddler before he started the foot pursuit.
Shortly after the arrest, a female friend of Wheeler’s showed up at the pool with Wheeler’s purse, which the friend said she had gone to retrieve from the room she had booked for Wheeler and her kids.
Police searched the room and the friend’s purse and found no drugs.
However, Jackson says he found a burned spoon in Wheeler’s purse that tested positive for meth, and also retrieved four syringes and several cotton balls from the purse.
The friend was not charged but the hotel manager asked her to leave.
Wheeler had been charged last summer with possession of meth, false informing, speeding and maintaining a common nuisance.
In May of this year, Wheeler pleaded guilty to the latter charge, a felony, and was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation; 40 hours of community service; and substance abuse evaluation.
But a month later, a warrant was issued for her arrest for failure to comply with probation. Besides being arrested on Saturday night on the arrest warrant, she was preliminarily charged with neglect of a dependent, possession of meth and resisting law enforcement.