Pocatello woman charged after young child found wandering alone in park
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POCATELLO — A Pocatello woman could face up to 17 years in prison after her daughter was found wandering alone in the area near Centennial Park.
Justine Khalil Rickard, 34, was arrested by officers from the Pocatello Police Department on April 17 after the 4-year-old girl was discovered unsupervised.
Police reports show officers responded to a 911 call regarding the child around 2:30 p.m., according to an affidavit of probable cause. The caller believed the child had been at the park for around one hour.
Neither the caller nor the police were able to get information from the child, pertaining to her parents or home. PPD contacted Child Protective Services, who declared the child in imminent danger. The girl was placed in the custody of the state and placed in foster care.
Unable to identify the child or her parents, PPD posted pictures of the girl on Facebook. Callers with information began contacting PPD dispatch within 10 minutes, police reports show.
Rickard was identified by callers as the girl’s mother.
When officers arrived at Rickard’s home, nearly four hours later just after 6:15 p.m., they found the front door of the home ajar. Officers reported Rickard appeared to be asleep on a couch in the home.
During questioning at the home, Rickard was allegedly slurring her speech, making it difficult for officers to understand.
When asked if she knew where her daughter was, Rickard allegedly told officers that she had dropped the girl off at the park with the girl’s father. She then changed the story, saying that she had dropped her off with her own father, the girl’s grandfather. She said she was depressed and left her daughter with the girl’s grandfather and returned home to take a nap.
Police contacted Rickard’s father, who said that he was not left in the custody of the child, nor had he made plans to meet his daughter and granddaughter. He also informed the police that he had been in contact with CPS about his granddaughter, saying that he feared the child was being neglected.
Given the length of time that had passed since Rickard had left the 4-year-old without care, she was placed under arrest for felony injury to a child.
During the process of her arrest, officers discovered a glass pipe with crystalline residue and a wadded up ball of tinfoil with burn marks on it inside Rickard’s purse. Tests performed using an NIK Field Test Kit returned a presumptive positive for methamphetamine on the pipe. The tinfoil was also found to have what officers believed to be heroin inside.
Rickard was transported to Bannock County Jail, where she was booked on counts of injury to a child and possession of a controlled substance, both felonies.
If found guilty, she faces up to 17 years in prison and as much as $65,000 in fines.
Rickard is expected in court for a preliminary hearing on April 26.