Day care worker built ‘drug den’ inside cabinet to smoke meth, Montana cops say

Autumn Sienna Heinz
Autumn Sienna Heinz Missoula County Sheriff’s Department

The laundry room cabinet at the YMCA Learning Center in Missoula, Mont., had been outfitted with a battery-powered light, makeshift curtains, shelves, an air filter, eye hooks to lock the doors from the inside – and a small glitter case containing snort tubes, lighters, a glass pipe and a vial of methamphetamine, police say.

Investigators arrested Autumn Sienna Heinz, 30, Tuesday on suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child, drug possession and criminal mischief, reported The Missoulian. A co-worker had told a supervisor about discovering a case with a glass pipe in the laundry room and finding Heinz, who had worked with infants at the YMCA Learning Center for the past three years, hiding inside the cabinet, police told the publication.

Heinz told police she had refitted the cabinet as a place to “get away” during breaks but asked for an attorney when questioned about drugs, reported KULR.

Drug cleanup expert Lee Yelin of Water Rights Inc. tested the facility and found methamphetamine residue inside the cabinet and in an employee bathroom, where smoke exhaled into a vent fan permeated the entire facility, according to KULR. Yelin said every room tested positive for meth contamination, including the infant room, and estimated cleanup costs at $80,000.

The YMCA Learning Center remained closed the rest of the week and has started working with other agencies to determine when it can reopen, reported The Missoulian. In a letter to parents, interim director Heather Foster said samples also had been sent to a Salt Lake City lab for further testing.

Heinz told police she had a history of drug use including heroin and opioid pills, reported KTVQ. She said she had started treatment at a methadone clinic in 2013 and stopped sometime in 2016 or 2017. She appeared in court Thursday and her bail has been set at $30,000.