BELMONT — A Pembroke couple has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly preparing drugs to inject in themselves in an unheated car during Saturday's frigid temperatures while a 7-month-old child lay bundled up less than a foot away.
Shanna Boucher, 22, of 45 Donna Drive, Pembroke, the child's mother, was arrested and charged with child endangerment and will appear in court at the end of the month to face the charge. She had been arrested in September for possession of a controlled drug, said Belmont's police prosecutor, Officer David L. Estes.
Timothy Gagnon, 27, of the same address, was charged with possession of a controlled drug and child endangerment and will appear later this month in court to face the charges, Estes said. Estes was unsure if Gagnon, who bears the same last name as the child, is the child's father.
Police said the couple put the child "in extreme danger."
"There were open hypodermic needles as well as liquid- and pill-form drugs within a foot of the baby," Estes said.
"At 7 months old, the movement of arms, the opening and closing of the mouth could have resulted in injury by needle stick or ingestion of drugs."
When Officer Evan Boulanger came up to the couple's car at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Circle K store on Route 106, he noticed the headlights and interior lights of the couple's four-door sedan were on, "and he saw two heads below the dashboard," Estes said.
Boulanger said he saw the male driver holding a lighter to the bottom of a metal spoon. From experience, Estes said, Boulanger recognized the actions as that of someone melting drugs for injection with a needle, so he ordered Gagnon and Boucher not to move.
Estes said Gagnon was found with his sleeves rolled up and fresh needle "track" marks up and down his arm. Boulanger noticed the child in the back seat in a car seat.
Boulanger asked Gagnon to get out of the car. Gagnon "stepped out and handed (Boulanger) a metal spoon with green soupy matter on it."
Gagnon told Boulanger that he had a prescription for the drugs, which he identified as oxycodone or Percocet. Gagnon said that he was in a lot of pain and that he needed to stop to "take" his medication, and said the heater in the car wasn't working right so he stopped to figure it out.
Another officer asked Boucher to step out of the car. When she did, "there was a needle tucked down by the door, and Officer Boulanger could see a smaller spoon near her with the same green soupy matter that appeared in (Gagnon's) spoon."
Boulanger received permission to search the car, which is owned by Boucher's father, Estes said. Before starting the search, Boulanger had the child removed from the car.
He said he found a smaller spoon and a needle, and found a baggy with green pills and three hypodermic needles in Boucher's purse. Boucher said the needles and the spoon were hers although she said she was not shooting up at the time, Estes said.
The child is in the custody of Boucher's father, police said.