Jun. 25—EAU CLAIRE — Two young children, ages 2 years and 21 months, were found wandering outside after being left in the care of an Eau Claire woman, authorities say.
The woman may have been under the influence of drugs, authorities said.
Nicole R. Sheppard, 51, 4900 Olson Drive, was charged Thursday in Eau Claire County Court with two felony counts of neglecting a child, a felony count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sheppard is scheduled to make her initial court appearance today.
According to the criminal complaint:
An Eau Claire County sheriff's deputy was sent to Cozy Acres Trailer Park, 4900 Olson Drive, just before 9 a.m. on June 15 for a report of two young children wandering around the trailer park wearing hardly any clothes.
The caller identified which trailer the children came from, which was Sheppard's residence, and said this was the second time within a week that they had been out wandering around the trailer park by themselves.
The woman said she had the children playing with her son at her residence. The older child was wearing just a T-shirt. The younger child was fully clothed but had a soiled diaper.
The woman agreed to continue to watch the children while a deputy tried to make contact with Sheppard.
Deputies repeatedly pounded on Sheppard's door before she opened the back door.
When asked, Sheppard said only she and the two children were in the residence. Sheppard said she was watching the children for a friend.
The deputy asked Sheppard if she knew where the children were. She said she thought they were in her room.
The deputy told Sheppard the children were found roaming the trailer park.
Sheppard never appeared frightened, shocked or concerned that the children were not in the trailer. She never asked where the children were or if they were OK.
Deputies noticed two baby bottles containing milk lying on the ground among some toys in the yard of the trailer.
While talking with Sheppard, a deputy noticed that her mannerisms and slow-thinking responses seemed consistent with people under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Sheppard admitted that she had smoked marijuana.
Social workers called to the scene began to make arrangements for the children.
While searching the residence, authorities found a case containing three containers with methamphetamine. Four types of drug paraphernalia were also found.
Sheppard said her phone would possibly contain messages from people asking her for drugs, but she added there would be no messages finalizing any transactions. Sheppard's phone was seized.
Sheppard is being prosecuted as a repeat offender. She was convicted of a felony count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver in September in Eau Claire County.
If convicted of the felony charges, Sheppard could be sentenced to up to 18 years in prison.