Richmond mother arrested after marijuana plants found growing in home along with 5 kids

RICHMOND, Ind. – Indiana State Police arrest a Richmond mother after investigators say they searched her home and found a marijuana grow operation with 5 kids inside.

The Wayne County mother is now facing numerous charges including neglect of a dependent, theft and drug possession.

The drug bust started with a tip.  State police showed up at the home at 2200 Flatley Road in Richmond home searching for Thomas Vanmeter who was wanted on a parole violation.

Police didn’t find Vanmeter, but they also didn’t come up empty handed.

“While they didn’t locate Vanmeter, what they did locate was meth, suboxone and a marijuana grow operation inside the home,” said ISP Sgt. John Bowling.

“The State Police knocked on my door showing me a picture of someone they were looking for,” said neighbor Aaron Roberts.

Roberts lives next door and didn’t know Vanmeter, who had recently been staying at the home, but Roberts was stunned to hear his neighbor Heather Parks has been arrested after police allegedly found marijuana plants growing inside her home along with 5 kids.

“I would have never suspected it honestly.  The kids were all well behaved.  They were pretty helpful and seemed like normal everyday people,” said Roberts.

Parks bonded out of the Wayne County jail and wasn’t shy about talking to people in her driveway although she didn’t want to talk to our cameras.  Her husband says they will fight the case in court.

The kids, who range in age from 6 months to 14 years, have been taken out of the home by the Department of Child Services.

In the meantime, State Police say the drug fight remains a top priority in Richmond and beyond.

“The Pendleton district has led the state in meth labs the last couple of years and Indiana has led the nation in meth labs, so our meth suppression unit is pretty well known,” said Bowling.  “It’s all part of our mission to protect the public and enforce the laws.  Drugs are definitely a problem.”

The investigation is ongoing, and there are more felony charges and arrests pending.

Anyone with any information on Vanmeter’s whereabouts is asked to call the Pendleton State Police Post at 765-778-2121.