Casper Woman Charged With Fifth Child Endangerment
A Casper woman faced charges from Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Christiansen on Thursday, September 8th at initial appearances.
Heather Ritchie, 31, was charged with felony child endangerment with methamphetamine while supervising, and a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance--meth.
Ritchie was charged for five counts of child endangerment with meth.
The judge set her bond at $5,000 cash or surety.
According to court records, on September 7th at 9:45 p.m. Officer Lougee was dispatched to the alley behind South Jefferson Street in Natrona County.
Ritchie's vehicle was reportedly parked in the alley and had been running for approximately an hour and a half with unattended children in the vehicle.
Court documents said that when Officer Lougee arrived there was a female in the driver's seat who identified herself as Ritchie and five children sitting in the back seat.
"As Officer Lougee approached the vehicle, Ritchie said something to the effect of 'I have glass coming out of me' then told Officer Lougee that she was sorry because there was a firearm in the vehicle and she is a prohibited possessor of firearms" said the affidavit.
The vehicle, firearm, and three of the children belonged to someone else, which was later confirmed by said-persons. Ritchie said she was babysitting while they were at work, which the couple confirmed.
During the investigation, Officer Lougee requested to search the vehicle, and Ritchie consented. Officer Lougee found a folded-up orange bandana in her purse and felt what appeared to be two pipes.
Both glass pipes contained a white residue that later tested positive for methamphetamine.
According to the affidavit, "Ritchie stated that the last time she had used meth was the current morning and Ritchie admitted her children were in her care and custody when she used meth. Ritchie also stated she was sorry for possessing (meth)."
The children belonging to Ritchie were taken into protective custody, and the other children were allowed to go home with their parents with a follow up appointment scheduled for the next day with DFS.
"While at Natrona County District Court, Ritchie thanked Officer Lougee for 'saving her children's lives.'"
If Ritchie does not bond out within 10 days, she will have a preliminary hearing during which the prosecution will present evidence that a crime probably occurred and that Ritchie probably committed it.
If a judge agrees, she will be bound over to Natrona County District Court for trial.
In 2018, K2Radio News reported that she was arrested for leaving a baby in a hot SUV.
An officer used a website to obtain an approximate internal temperature for the vehicle and found it would have been 114 degrees Fahrenheit when the child was inside the Tahoe.