Missouri is no stranger to methamphetamine manufacture, but a call to a trailer park in St. Charles yielded much more than a tweaker’s meth stash. Kathleen Peacock and Lucas Barnes had been trapped inside for days, with one room of the run-down house turned into an oven—until it became too hot to bear.
Peacock, who was pregnant at the time authorities arrived at her house, had been up for 38 hours with her lover on a meth-making and drug-taking bender. She mentioned hearing a noise from the other room of the small house and considering checking on it, but her drugs were too important to take a few steps away from.
She eventually opened the door to the room after the noises ceased and discovered her 2-year-old son, Braydon Barnes, had been roasted to death by the space heater she had left on for him. Peacock and Barnes believed that putting the boy in the room with a space heater on high for almost two days would keep him comfortable enough for them to take their drugs.
The heater lacked a thermostat, which would have allowed it to cut off when it became too hot, resulting in an oven in the room. To make things worse, investigators discovered that not only had the trailer home of horrors been condemned and that there was excrement and filth everywhere, but that the youngster was critically emaciated after not being eaten for days. Surprisingly, if the heat didn’t kill him, starvation would have.
This isn’t the pregnant woman’s first run-in with the authorities. She hadn’t even finished resolving her child endangerment charge from when she was pulled over for driving under the influence with a child in tow when she killed her son. She and Barnes face up to life in prison for child abuse or neglect resulting in death, along with a drug charge.
The state is so concerned about inadequate parents that it has set up “crisis nurseries” where parents may leave off their kids if they can’t manage them, are overwhelmed, or would rather use drugs than perform their duty as a parent. Although this option was available to Peacock and Barnes, the centers also depend on individuals who exhibit a sense of responsibility to accept the offer. Unfortunately, these parents couldn’t be concerned, and their youngster paid the price with his life.
Instead of providing drug addicts many chances to choose their children’s well-being over their addiction, the kids should be seized at the first excessively reckless transgression. This would assure the child’s protection and survival while the parent either self-destructs or recovers.
If the latter occurs, they may be able to reclaim their children, but the state is more focused on safeguarding degenerates and allowing them to retain their children, who die while the adults are given much too much time to demonstrate that they are incapable of carrying out their responsibilities. The children pay the price, and more often than not, in a horrific manner.