February 27th, 2009
11:53 AM ET

High on meth with five kids in the back

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/27/art.vert.crime.mcminnville.jpg caption="William James Duncan, 38, and his wife were arrested for unlawful possession of Methamphetamine and reckless endangering." width=292 height=320]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/27/art.vert.crime.duncan.meth.jpg caption="Tracy Duncan, 38, was arrested with her husband." width=292 height=320]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

William and Tracy Duncan do not appear to be role models. They are, however, parents. Their five young children, ages 5 to 10, probably look up to their mom and dad. That may be the saddest part of this story.

The Duncan family was riding in their vehicle Wednesday morning when Officer Mike Larue of the McMinnville Police Department in Oregon noticed the children in the backseat were not wearing seat belts. Officer Larue ordered the driver to pull over. A colleague, Detective Sam Elliott, was called to the scene to assist in the investigation.

This was not a routine traffic stop. Detective Elliott and Officer Larue determined that William and Tracy Duncan were under the influence of a controlled substance, namely Methamphetamine. According to the department's news release, the drugs were in the vehicle, and at a nearby motel room that the family had rented.

The couple was arrested. William Duncan was charged with five counts of Reckless Endangerment, five counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, and two counts of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine. Tracy Duncan was charged with five counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and two counts of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine.

The 38-year-old suspects were processed and fingerprinted. They also had their mug shots taken.

The children are now wards of the state. They were taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services.

As in dozens of states, Oregon is facing a massive meth problem. How bad is it? Consider this information from the Oregon Department of Human Services.

• In 2004, Oregon became the second most common drug used by people in publicly funded substance abuse treatment program (second to alcohol).

• Oregon's Methamphetamine admission rate is the highest in the nation.

• According to Oregon's Department of Corrections, in 2005 39 percent of female inmates admitted to regular methamphetamine use, while 27 percent of all males admitted to regular use.

And Oregon is currently a source state for methamphetamine across the United States.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (26 Responses)

    Being a recovering alcoholic and living with a recovering heroin addict, you lose the right to make choices. you may have had a choice to pick it up the first time however, puting it down is nearly impossible. If this couple gets a chance to go to a good recovery program for 6 to 9 months then they stand a chance. 28 days in recovery programs are a joke.. this stuff takes over your brain and it takes a year for your brain to recover from it. If you have never been addicted you have no idea what you are talking about.

    March 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  2. Leah

    Meth is a terrible drug, I feel sorry for anyone who gets addicted to it, it is a jail within itself. The whole family suffers.

    March 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  3. patty

    As a family and juvenile law attorney with 13 years experience, I am sad to say this is going on everywhere, your town included. I am amazed the number of citizens who assume it is not happening in city, but it is. Until we all become active against drug use and abuse, this will not end.

    March 2, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  4. Ren

    It looks like they would be an attractive couple if they weren't all meth'd out. Skinny, bad skin...YUCK! Meth is just really bad! Anything that makes you neglect your kids is horrible. I hope they get straight.

    March 2, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  5. Odie

    When any person chooses the first time to use drugs, that person doesn't have a choice the second time because the drug or alcohol is now making all the decisions for that person. This is what is called addiction folks. Before you are so harsh in your opinions think as if these could be your family members. Addiction is cruel and by the way I am not a drug user trying to defend drug use. Some of these people at one time were probable children of drug addicts. This is why preventative programs (in the schools for sure) are so important for children today.

    March 2, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  6. Giovani F

    Simple people....if you are caught with drugs make the sentences stagerring....I don't come with the BS they need help...but it is they who controlled the first time they took it and if you do the crime be willing to pay the price...well unless you're Jeb Bush's daughter but the law if different for this Elitist...even if you get caught 4 and 5 times you still don't go to jail...and that was crack...but if you're blacks and you get caught with a little weed...you're going away for a couple of years...great country of double standards we live in EH?

    March 2, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  7. rachel

    thats is nasty why would u do that?

    March 2, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  8. Muriel

    Drug addicted women should be sterilized. They don't give a damn about anything but drugs, they should never become mothers....

    March 2, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  9. Tom

    My neighbor next door is just like this and he deals.....I need these cops to come to Buena Park Calif so we can get some results....same thing with our situation, 2 kids who watch everything that goes on. The bulk of the meth comes from Mexico with the illegals sneaking in.....

    March 2, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  10. Laura

    OK Ray so just put them in some cushy treatment center? Give me a break! A long time in jail combined with treatment I can understand but they need to suffer some serious consequences for putting their children at such risk. There must be a deterrent, jail is such a deterrent. They could have sought treatment prior to this and did not. I am sick of bleeding hearts trying to absolve people who CHOOSE to do illegal things from all their misdeeds.

    I'm sad for the children and hope they get the help they need, and can find some good role models to emulate rather than their worthless parents.

    March 2, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  11. cynthia

    They are living in a motel probably because meth addicts aren't capable of maintaining a home, regardless of the money they have or make from their drugs. They need to be in prison AND receiving intense and comprehensive treatment. Its very common for meth addicts to have several children, they never sleep and are very hyper (not being silly, this is the facts). I am an emergency responder and we often find several children and the women pregnant in meth houses. Its not unusual to find several hundred to thousands of dollars in the home, but no food for the children. What drove them to use is selfish, no mather their excuse.

    March 2, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  12. Linda

    Now what are those kids going to think about their parents??? Are they think it's ok to drugs their selfs? I feel the what happens to the parents won't be good enough. The kids needed to given to someone who will teach them right from wrong and pray they grow up to be something good.

    March 2, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  13. Angela

    They can afford to support their habit but they live in a motel room?! Not only were they putting their children at risk but they were putting their habit before the general welfare of their children. They could have used that money for an acceptable place to live!

    March 2, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  14. Tarja, Finland

    Jail sentence will not help this couple nor any kind of lecture. It would be interesting to know how this drug addiction started in the first place.
    The heartbreaking part this story are the children.

    February 27, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  15. Kellie Gibson

    This breaks my heart. The kids may be removed from the family but they will end up going back to the same messed up situation they came from!

    February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  16. Betty Burton

    Five years in prison would clean them up!!!!!!

    February 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  17. Pat from Chicago

    It is so sad, It actually hurts to look at their pictures. All the jail time in the world is not going to help them and their situation. These are sick people. This is an disease that has to be treated like Heart disease or Diebetes. Being locked up is not going to help these people at all. My heart goes out to the kids. 7 lives are a mess. It seems like the easiest thing to do is throw them in jail and throw away the key. The kids – lost souls!

    February 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is a sad story but there are plenty more out there. I don't know the answer, never used drugs, so my prayers are with families and children who suffer with this problem.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  19. Ray

    Putting them in prison fixes nothing... now the state has to take care of them and their children. These people need help not jail sentences.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  20. Ray

    Putting them in prison fixes nothing... now the state has to take care of them and their children. They people need help not jail sentences.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  21. Jeanette

    This is so sad. The drug problem is getting really out of hand and I'm afraid that this trouble in Mexico will spill over to our country even more as time goes on. the kids are always the ones who suffer most. Noone seems to know what to do about it. You can just look at the sores on these peoples faces to know they are really heavy users of meth.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  22. GF, Los Angeles

    Geez the faces are proof they're meth addicts. They look like zombies!

    February 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  23. Teresa, OH

    It is sad when a parent CHOOSES, yes CHOOSES, to put drugs before the children. ( or alcohol) The odd thing is: it's usually the ones with more than one or two kids.

    These are ALWAYS the parents that whine: " I love my children more than ANYTHING in the WORLD...I'll do anything to get them back." really? anything???

    And for goodness sakes, couldn't one have stayed clean enough to drive? Life is about choices: drugs or kids, you can't have both.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Drugs are a serious problem in this nation-–the offenders get arrested and prosecuted--but the ultimate price is being paid by their children--and that is so disheartening....

    February 27, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  25. Cindy

    Unfortunately stories such as this are far too common! As the drug problem continues to rise so will cases such as these. Unfortunately in the end it is the kids who always suffer the most by being neglected by their parents and learning by watching their parents that drugs are OK. So they'll more than likely grow up to be just like that. It's sad really!


    February 27, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  26. robyncaffrey keyser westvirginia

    so happy another couple was caught.

    yes we can

    February 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm |