A policy that sends police officers to all instances in which 911 callers hang up led to police arresting a man Wednesday afternoon on charges of leaving two 7-month-olds and a 4-year-old home alone in a townhouse where they said he was growing marijuana.
Officers charged Anthony Joseph Cottle, 28, with a felony count of manufacturing marijuana and three misdemeanor counts of child abuse.
According to arrest warrants, Cpl. J.M. Henik was sent to 236 Maynard Summit Way because 911 operators were unable to get an answer when they called back to the number from which the call had come. Police departments sent someone to check in those cases.
Henik said a 4-year-old answered her knock at the door and led her upstairs to 7-month-old twins in cribs after she asked if anyone else was home.
The boy, Henik said, told her he had been playing on a bed while Cottle went to pick up a sister.
Next to the bed were marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Henik and Investigator J.R. Ryan said in the reason for charging Cottle. In a closet in the same room, they said, was a cabinet in which they found a heater, lights, a timer and several marijuana plants “in the early stages of development.”
A magistrate noted in setting conditions for Cottle’s release that he and his wife have several other children. Cottle was ordered not to be around the twins or the 4-year-old without someone over 18 being present.
Cottle’s bail was set at $25,000, and he was held for a Thursday court appearance.
The identity of callers to 911 are not public information under state law, but the initial call that sent Henik to the townhouse indicated that dispatchers suspected from what they heard that a child playing with a telephone might have been the cause, police said.