Casper police arrest 3 after child found outside

2011-12-02T23:30:00Z 2011-12-03T00:06:41Z Casper police arrest 3 after child found outsideBy WILLIAM
BROWNING Casper Star-Tribune
The Billings Gazette
December 02, 2011 11:30 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — Police found a 5-year-old boy standing near a Casper intersection Thursday night. He was in short-sleeve pajamas, had no shoes or coat on in 13-degree weather and was shivering while his mother, police say, had meth-fueled sex in a nearby apartment.

Officers arrived at the child’s location, near Second and McKinley streets, about 8:50 p.m. The boy, who witnesses say was crying for his mother, was able to show police where he had come from: an apartment off an alleyway between First and Second streets, authorities say.

While police were checking the residence for occupants, 33-year-old Kirk Erwin Steffey walked around the corner of the building with only a towel around his waist, authorities say.

Steffey was “defiant” toward officers, according to an arrest affidavit, and initially denied them access to the home. After being told why officers were there, “Steffey threw down his towel and paraded fully naked into the apartment” and began dressing, the affidavit states.

Officers followed him in and found drug paraphernalia about the residence, according to the affidavit.

Steffey eventually claimed the boy’s mother had dropped him off earlier in the evening so he could watch the child. Police then began placing Steffey under arrest for child endangerment. While reading him his rights, “two females barged into the apartment,” the affidavit states.

Police say one of the women — 27-year-old Jennifer Mary Cromwell — was the boy’s mother and she was naked from the waist down. The other woman, authorities say, was 32-year-old April Mae Orner. They both appeared to be intoxicated, police say.

Police say they later determined Cromwell and Orner had left Steffey’s home to have sex in a nearby apartment. Steffey, at some point, left Cromwell’s child in the apartment and joined the women, according to the affidavit.

All three were arrested.

Prosecutors charged Cromwell with two felony counts of child endangerment and one count of misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine. If convicted, she faces the possibility of more than 10 years in prison.

Steffey was charged with one count of felony child endangerment involving methamphetamine, as well one count of misdemeanor drug possession. He faces more than five years behind bars if convicted.

Cromwell and Steffey, who remain in custody on five-figure bonds, will have preliminary hearings in coming weeks when a judge will decide if enough evidence exists for them to stand trial.

Orner was charged with one count of misdemeanor drug possession. She pleaded not guilty to the crime, which carries a maximum possible penalty of one year in jail. A bench trial will be scheduled.

The 5-year-old has been placed in the custody of the Department of Family Services.

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