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Meth Lab Explodes, Burns 11-Year-Old Boy
An already dangerous and deadly combination injures a child in Decatur. Two people remained behind bars Thursday night, charged with making meth.
They also face child endangerment charges after an 11-year-old boy suffered burns after the household meth lab exploded.
Residents along North Fairview Avenue in Decatur say it's your typical American neighborhood, but when police arrived at one home Tuesday night, neighbors never guessed there was a working meth lab inside.
Less than 48 hours earlier, Decatur police arrested 33-year-old Taylor Potter and 38-year-old Rachel Starr-Hollgarth. Both are charged with manufacturing meth.
Potter later admitted to police he had been making meth using a two liter plastic bottle in the laundry room when it exploded. He then used a fire extinguisher on an 11-year-old boy in the home, who suffered second-degree burns on his legs and left arm.
Neighbors often saw that boy and the two other kids that lived there playing outside.
"They played and there were times I saw the young man who I assumed was their father walk them down to the corner to get a bus," says Jan Kahila, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1984.
Kahila is a retired teacher. Her outrage after the incident across the street is about more than just the meth lab.
"Anytime a child is involved in any type of abuse or neglect it's a serious matter. We hope for the best for the children and this neighborhood is not like that at all," said Kahila.
Other neighbors, who declined to be on camera, admitted there was often traffic at the home. They say sometimes a chemical smell also came from the home. Until Thursday, they had no idea a meth lab exploded inside.
"There was a couple of police cars and it appeared there was some people outside of the house when the police were approaching, but that was several days ago and we hadn't heard anything since," said Kahila.
Both Potter and Rachel Hollgarth remain in the Macon County jail. The 11-year-old boy, who was burned, was initially taken to Decatur Memorial Hospital. He's now being treated at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
In a sworn statement to police, Taylor Potter admits he was making meth inside his home for several months. Police say Rachel Starr-Hollgarth told them she and Potter cooked about 20 batches over that time.
Police say she claims that to protect her children, she would often send them to their rooms while she and Potter were making the drug.