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Neglect suspected at Pierce County home

Sally Stewart

Almost 50 methamphetamine pipes, moldy food containers and bags of garbage packed a rural Ellsworth home where authorities removed a child and arrested two people who were later charged with multiple crimes.

The Pierce County District Attorney's Office charged town of Trimbelle residents Sally M. Stewart and Jonathon D. Olson with felony child neglect, amphetamine possession with intent to deliver and drug paraphernalia possession. Stewart was being held this week in Pierce County Jail on a $2,500 cash bond; a warrant was issued Monday, Aug. 20 for the arrest of Olson, who was hospitalized after allegedly swallowing drugs during his arrest.

The child living in the house, a 3-year-old girl, was placed in protective custody. Pierce County Public Health officials placed placards outside the 910th Street home declaring hazardous conditions inside.

According to a criminal complaint:

Pierce County Human Services officials told deputies that a pregnant woman, later identified as Stewart, had tested positive for meth, marijuana and amphetamines. Authorities also learned Stewart's 3-year-old daughter lived with her, along with a man — later identified as Olson — with a warrant for his arrest.

Sheriff's investigators, joined by a social worker, went to the 910th Street house Aug. 13 and knocked on the door. A child answered from behind door, but stopped talking to officers after she was asked to get her mother.

Investigators also checked on a camper-trailer parked at the property, where a dog was heard barking before abruptly going silent. A search warrant for the property was being drawn up when a woman emerged from inside the trailer.

Stewart and her daughter exited the home shortly after. She told officers they couldn't go inside the home and that no other occupants and no drugs were inside. The woman from the trailer, identified as Olson's mother, said she hadn't seen her son in months.

Deputies then kicked in the chained door to the house, where they apprehended Olson. Deputies arrested him, but diverted to River Falls Area Hospital after learning he had ingested meth and possibly other drugs before officers entered the house. He was later transferred to United Hospital in St. Paul.

Olson was heard telling Stewart to "keep her mouth shut" while he was being escorted to a police squad, the complaint states.

An inventory of items found in the house included:

-- 47 meth pipes

-- Six closed-circuit cameras

-- 30 grams of pot

-- 16 grams of meth

The inside of the home was inspected, where deputies found:

-- Swarms of insects, especially in the kitchen and bathroom

-- Living room floor completely covered in clothing, trash and other items; Stewart told officers that her daughter spent most of her time in that room.

-- Rotting, moldy food pans on the kitchen counter, which were joined in that room with bags of garbage and the absence of running water in the sink.

-- A melted electrical surge protector cord found melted on the oven.

-- A large glass bong and other drug paraphernalia within the child's reach.

-- A clogged toilet.

-- All windows to the home covered in cardboard.

In an interview with an investigator, Stewart "admitted that she knew the living conditions were not the best" for her daughter, according to the complaint. She said she and Olson were married.

Stewart's preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 22.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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