Elkins man charged with child neglect

An Elkins man was arrested for allegedly forcing his children – ages 4 and 6 – to smoke marijuana with a makeshift bong-like device, police said.

Timothy Wayne Hedrick, 28, is facing a felony charge of child neglect creating risk of injury. Bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety by Chief Randolph County Magistrate Ben Shepler.

According to the criminal complaint, Randolph County Sheriff’s Deputy D.L. VanMeter was contacted by a state Child Protective Services worker. She advised him of an investigation regarding a six-year-old boy who had been non-responsive at Third Ward Elementary School twice this past school year, once resulting in an ambulance being called to the school, the complaint stated.

The CPS worker spoke to the youth, who had an abrasion on the right side of his neck, and who allegedly told the worker his father also “punched him several times in his head,” according to the police report. Though no physical marks were found on the child to indicate any sort of punching, he reportedly complained that his head “hurt really bad,” the report stated.

The CPS worker also advised VanMeter the child said he smoked marijuana with his father -Hedrick – along with another adult family member and his four-year-old sister, at Hedrick’s volition, according to the police report. The boy reportedly told police smoking from the bong “makes his lips burn,” the report stated.

During a search of the Hedrick residence, an apartment located at the former Four Seasons Motel on Harrison Avenue, officials found drug paraphernalia, including a home-made bong containing residue, a tuder (a street slang term for a device used to snort substances) containing white residue, and an empty Hydrocodone prescription bottle.

Two other children – a 4-year-old girl and an 11-month-old infant – were at the residence at the time of the search, police said. The mother of the children was home during the search and was taken into custody after the drug materials were found, the report stated.

All of the drug paraphernalia “was in arms’ reach” of the children, VanMeter wrote.

The 4-year-old allegedly advised the CPS worker she was forced to smoke marijuana and that afterwards she “throwed up,” the report stated. The girl told police she “smokes Kind Bud and weed” with her father and brother, according to the criminal complaint.

The children were taken into CPS custody. Hedrick remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.

Contact Chad by e-mail at cclem@theintermountain.com.