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Billings man charged after police found children living in "horrific" conditions

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Posted at 3:12 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 12:03:34-04

BILLINGS - A Billings man authorities allege was using and selling drugs out of a residence has been charged with multiple felonies after police said they found four children living in "horrific conditions."

Shane Michael Clark, 34, has been charged in Yellowstone County District Court with four counts of felony criminal endangerment, four counts of endangering the welfare of children, one count of felony drug possession, and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to court documents, Billings police officers began surveillance on a home in the 4600 block of Lux Avenue on May 2 after receiving information from a drug task force that there was drug use and drug trafficking occurring at that residence. On that day, an officer stopped a vehicle leaving the residence and found meth and a firearm in possession of the driver, court records state.

On May 9, officers again attempted to stop a vehicle leaving the residence after seeing it make traffic violations, but the driver fled. Also on that day officers reported seeing small children playing at the residence.

A police detective then went to the house and knocked on the door, observing security cameras as he approached. Clark met the officer at the door, court records state, and during a conversation told the officer he had four children in the home before he became evasive when asked how many adults were in the home. The inside of the house appeared in "shambles" when the officer looked inside. The children living in the house ranged in age from 7 years to about 10 months, according to court records.

The officer called into the house to identify himself and the children's mother and three other women came out of the house followed by the children. The children's mother allegedly admitted to using meth daily and officers later secured a search warrant.

In the course of securing the search warrant, court records state, two officers walked through the residence "to make sure it was secure and there were no other occupants" inside. Another woman was found inside the home and escorted outside.

"While securing the residence, (the officer) noted the horrific living conditions therein and had CPS contacted for the children," court records state. "Inside the house officers found: numerous house projects in different states of repair; broken glass, sharp tools, and lots of debris on the floors; rotten old food throughout the home; drug paraphernalia littered throughout the residence and within easy reach and access to the children; toilets backed up to the point that feces had mounded to the top of the toilet seats, and; where the children appeared to sleep their beds were solied and had no sheets. The children's beds appeared to be infested with bugs."

Court records continue:

"Officers found numerous loaded syringes throughout the home, as well as meth and pipes bearing meth residue, within common areas to which children had easy access. For example, in the Defendant's bedroom there was a dresser bearing a loaded syringe which tested presumptive positive for meth. Officers also found a clear glass smoking device bearing what appeared to be burnt meth residue in a common area within easy access to all occupants of the home, including the children. Officers found one syringe in an open can of infant formula. Officers found a container of meth and loaded syringes in the living room/child play area. Officers even found methamphetamine in a bag on a bed by the children's toys and baby crib."