WAUSAU — The name of the 29-year-old Wausau woman accused of child neglect after toxicology results showed methamphetamine in the hair of a 4-year-old child has been released by the Wausau Police Department.
The Marathon County District attorney’s office received a charging recommendation from the Wausau Police Department in June against Sanja M. Ermeling of Wausau.
An investigation into the child’s well being began in May, after Ermeling was involved in a theft case, police said. An examination of the child showed recent and frequent exposure to methamphetamine through inhaling second-hand smoke, skin to skin contact or touching methamphetamine residue, according to the police report.
“The exposure would be significant enough for the body to absorb it and have it begin to excrete from the body through hair growth,” the reported stated.
Investigators can test the hair of children to detect passive exposure to drugs and provide evidence of substance abuse in a child’s environment for a three-month span, according to the U.S. Drug Testing Laboratories. Tests can be performed on children of any age.
Exposure to toxic substances may cause significant neurological deficits leading to increased emotional reactivity, decreased inhibition, decreased cognitive capacity and aggressive behaviors, according to the medical documentation in this case. The child was examined by a pediatric specialist at the Marshfield Child Advocacy Center.
“The accumulation of childhood adversity including toxic exposures, parental substance use, neglect and lack of emotional support have a significant negative impact on a child’s neurobiological development,” the report stated. “(The child) is at an increased risk for poor physical health, emotional/behavioral health and intellectual health outcomes.”
The child has been removed from Ermeling’s care and is living with relatives. Official charges have not been filed in the child neglect case, but Ermeling is already facing felony drug charges stemming from her May arrest.
Wausau Pilot & Review does not release the names of victims of crimes.