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A Mississippi couple are in jail in southern Indiana, accused of smoking methamphetamine in their truck with their 5-year-old daughter in the back seat.
Indiana Conservation officers came across the family while checking out the suspicious truck parked at Clark State Forest outside Henryville.
“She was healthy, but she was living inside of a truck on half of a back seat where methamphetamine and numerous devices used for smoking methamphetamine were inside of the truck,” said Cpl. Nate Berry, a law enforcement officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Bradley Gordon, 52, and Sheila Gordon, 31, of Gulfport, Mississippi, are charged with neglect of a dependent, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.
Officers say the couple were illegally camping at the site.
Both parents told officers they had been there since 2 a.m.
One of the officers pushed the girl on a nearby swing while they waited for other authorities to arrive.
“I will say that we all developed an instant emotional attachment to this gal. She was a very sweet, young gal, very well-behaved, played, wanted to chase butterflies and pick flowers, and she gave myself and Lieutenant Philip Schuetter some dandelion flowers that she had picked, and it was definitely an emotional moment for all of us,” Berry said.
Officials say both of the parents lived in Kentucky previously and had recently lost their home to foreclosure.
Matthew Jacobs said he lives in Sellersburg and enjoys bringing his family to recreation areas at the state forest.
“I have a daughter of my own. She’s 5 years old, and I work EMS (emergency medical services), so one, I wouldn’t want my daughter to be left unattended, especially when you’re under the influence,” Jacobs said.
He said it makes him angry that parents would put another girl his own daughter’s age at risk.
“It angers me that someone would put their child in that kind of danger, where I live my entire life to take care of her,” Jacobs said.
Officials say the girl was placed with the Indiana Department of Child Services, which is attempting to locate a relative of the child.
WEBVTT PARENTS HAD BEEN SMOKING METH.>> SHE WAS HEALTHY, BUT SHE WASLIVING INSIDE OF A TRUCK ON HALFOF A BACK SEAT WHEREMETHAMPHETAMINE AND NUMEROUSDEVICES USED FOR SMOKIMETHAMPHETAMINE WERE INSIDE OFTHE TRUCK. BRADLEY AND SHEILAGORDON OF GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPIARE CHARGED WITH NEGLECT OF ADEPENDENT, POSSESSION OFMETHAMPHETAMINE ANDPARAPHERNALIA, AND MAINTAINING ACOMMON NUISANCE AFTER THEIRTRUCK WAS DISCOVERED WEDNESDAYAT A RECREATION AREA AT CLARKSTATE FOREST, OUTSIDEHENRYVILLE.>> I HAVE A DAUGHTER OF MY OWN.SHE’S 5-YEARS-OLD, AND I WORKEMS, SO ONE, I WOULDN’T WANT MYDAUGHTER TO BE LEFT UNATTENDED,ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE UNDER THEINFLUENCE.>> MATTHEW JACOBS SAYS HE OFTENBRINGS HIS FAMILY HERE TO PLAY,AND SAYS HE’S MAD ABOUT WHATHAPPENED TO ANOTHER GIRL HIS OWNDAUGHTER’S AGE.>> IT ANGERS ME THAT SOMEONEWOULD PUT THEIR CHILD IN THATKIND OF DANGER, WHERE I LIVE MYENTIRE LIFE TO TAKE CARE OF HER.>> OFFICERS SAY THE COUPLE WASILLEGALLY CAMPING AT THE SITE.BOTH PARENTS TOLD OFFICERS THEYHAD BEEN THERE SINCE 2:00 A.M,ONE OF THE OFFICERS PUSHED THEGIRL ON A SWING WHILE THEYWAITED FOR OTHER AUTHORITIES TOARRIVE.>> I WILL SAY THAT WE ALLDEVELOPED AN INSTANT EMOTIONALATTACHMENT TO THIS GAL.SHE WAS A VERY SWEET, YOUNG GAL,VERY WELL-BEHAVED, PLAYED,WANTED TO CHASE BUTTERFLIES ANDPICK FLOWERS, AND SHE GAVEMYSELF AND LT. SCHUETTER SOMEDANDELION FLOWERS THAT SHE HADPICKED, AND IT WAS DEFINITELY ANEMOTIONAL MOMENT FOR ALL OF US.>> RIGHT NOW, THE GIRL IS WITHINDIANA CHILD SERVICES, AND THEYARE IN THE PROCESS OF TRACKINGDOWN A RELATIVE TO PLACE HER INTHEIR CARE.