Tribal Meth Abuse

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the firstcase to be charged under the new Caylee’s Law in South Dakota.  Taylor and Laurie Cournoyer were charged with felony counts of child abuse and failure to report the death of a child in relation to the homicide of 2-year-old RieLee Lovell.  The Cournoyers are the first people in the state charged with a violation of the failure to report statute, which makes it a felony to withhold information on a child’s death for six hours or longer.

On July 17, the Cournoyer’s had a court appearance regarding the charges, and as they stood before the court, their families were standing in front of the court holding signs urging the public to withhold judgment against the two until all of the facts came out.  It is hard for me to feel sympathetic or withhold moral judgment against these two individuals, as they let a toddler lay dead in their closet and did nothing about it for a day and a half.  Other protesters held signs urging a stronger police response to the use of methamphetamine in their tribal community.

The protesters carried signs and shouted protests over what they perceive as an inability to  enforce methamphetamine laws by state and tribal authorities in Lake Andes and Wagner, South Dakota.  Members of the community have stated that meth has taken over their community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs nor local law enforcement are doing much to curtail the drug epidemic.

Inasmuch as drugs sometimes do play a large part in the commission of crimes, these two were responsible to watch out for the well-being of this child, as well as caring for their own children and they failed miserably.  If there was a known problem of methamphetamine abuse in that household, it is up to those responsible adults in the community to protect the children and do whatever is necessary to ensure the best interests of the children – even if it means placing that call to children’s services.  As a result, a child is dead and an 11-year old boy is still in custody for her murder.  This bell can never be unrung.

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