A three year old boy is in state care and his mother behind bars after tests showed methamphetamine in the toddler's system.
The boy was taken from a home near 132nd and Highway 370 in Sarpy County, where Sarpy County Chief Deputy Greg London says he lived in reportedly poor conditions. "Trash all over the place. The plumbing is not working. There's electrical issues. There was even feces found in the house."
The photo evidence can't be made public before trial, but Papillion tagged the house as a danger and posted "keep out" signs.
Rich Randell lives across the street. "If they can't clean it up, they got to take it down and rebuild because it is a good neighborhood. That's the exception rather than the rule," he said about the house.
The older woman that owns the house is in the hospital, but her 41 year old daughter Jennifer Nielson lived there with her son. Court records said the son, who tested positive for meth, is named Benjamin.
"Because the mom was smoking meth in the house, the boy probably just picked up second-hand smoke," London said. Investigators said the boy couldn't talk and still wore diapers. His slow development is part of the reason Nielson was charged with neglect.
"She is seeking treatment," her defense lawyer said to the judge in court. Nielson will face drug-related charges along with the neglect charges.
Though the investigators found the boy roaming free in the living room, they also found a portable crib with a baby gate zip tied on top of it. London says they believe the boy spend some of his day trapped inside. "And held him sort of like a jail cell."
Neighbors like Randell suspected a troubled mother, but never suspected the child was in trouble. "Oh it just breaks your heart, and I don't know what you can do."
Court records show the boy has been in danger before. When he was six weeks old and visiting his father, the child was given adult medicine to put him to sleep. Nielson is awaiting a bond review. She faces three felonies and three misdemeanors after allegedly abusing and neglecting the boy.