Jacob Webber Credit: Courtesy of Waldo County Jail

If you are concerned about a child being neglected or abused, call Maine’s 24-hour hotline at 800-452-1999 or 711 to speak with a child protective specialist. Calls may be made anonymously. For more information, visit maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/reporting_abuse.

A Jackson man remained in jail this week after police investigating a report of possible child abuse found evidence that he was allegedly making methamphetamine in a home where three children lived.

Jacob M. Webber, 29, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 25 for allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab and endangering the welfare of a child. Bail is set at $15,000.

Jordan Tozier, a school resource officer for Regional School Unit 3 and a detective at the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that the investigation began when one of the children living in Webber’s home alerted school officials about “some level of child abuse” there. After receiving a referral from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Tozier went to the Hatch Road mobile home in Jackson early last week and asked the children’s mother about Webber, who had previously served 18 months in prison after being convicted in 2017 of running a methamphetamine lab in Swanville.

The mother told police that Webber was not living there, and she had not seen him, Tozier said.

But one of the children said later that their mother had lied, and when Tozier and a social worker returned to the house on Friday to check, they did a “safety sweep” and allegedly found Webber hiding in a closet. They called the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency after spotting what appeared to be drug paraphernalia, including a “meth pot” in the home, Tozier said.

“I had seen enough to believe there was a meth lab of some sort,” he said.

Police ordered everyone out of the house, including a kindergartner who was there at the time. The other two children were at school.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and this is definitely one of the most concerning cases I’ve had to deal with, for sure,” Tozier said. “There’s the fact that we don’t ever want to be breathing [toxic substances] in, and that the mom wasn’t truthful about much of anything that day. We had asked her if he was there, and she said no. We asked if there was any sort of methamphetamine use, and she said no.”

When officials from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency searched the home after obtaining a warrant to do so, they found evidence of a lab, the officer said. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection came to the home to clean up the meth and the chemicals associated with it, he said, and relatives took the three children in the house to Waldo County General Hospital emergency room to be evaluated for their exposure to chemicals. The children were removed from the custody of their mother and Webber, who is not the father of all the children, Tozier said.

Webber allegedly told police that the drug paraphernalia was old and that he was not “not doing this type of activity anymore,” according to a report in the Republican Journal.

The case is still under investigation with more charges possible, Tozier said.

“A lot of questions still need to be answered — about what mom’s involvement is, how long [Webber] has been there and how long the kids have been in that situation,” the officer said. “We haven’t issued any charges to the mother yet, but there’s the potential”