Mom, older brother charged after 11-year-old found smoking meth
MACCLENNY, Fla. – An 11-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital after smoking meth with his 21-year-old brother and a 16-year-old friend, according to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.
That older brother, Brandon Vankuren, was arrested on drug charges, and the boys' mother, Angela Ritter, was charged with child neglect and possession of drugs.
The arrests came after a Baker County deputy noticed Vankuren with his brother and the teenager acting strange at 5:30 a.m. last Monday outside the Macedonia Convenience Store, north of Macclenny. While he was questioning the boys, the deputy noticed a baggie in one of their pockets with a substance that looked suspicious.
The arrest report shows Vankuren and the 16-year-old admitted to possessing methamphetamine. And all three of confessed to smoking the drug.
Paramedics rushed the 11-year-old to a hospital.
“I couldn’t believe it. Deputy knocked on my door and told me," Ritter's father-in-law, James Wilkerson, said. “I went down to the hospital and his heart rate was real high, and I sat with him until he was OK and I brought him home.”
Detectives say they arrested Vankuren and Ritter during the investigation on a previous drug warrant. After questioning Ritter, deputies charged her with child neglect.
Wilkerson told News4Jax it's Vankuren’s fault that his younger brother got involved with drugs.
"She honestly, really didn’t know that they had snuck out of the house that night," Wilkerson said. "And I knew that his brother was on drugs real bad, but instead of running him off, I was kind of respecting her by letting him stay here.”
Wilkerson said the 11-year-old is doing fine after he was released from the hospital. Wilkerson said, for now, he’ll help take care of the boy and hope the drugs stay away from his house.
Deputies said the 11-year-old will not face charges because he did not have any drugs in his possession, just in his system.
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