Unborn Baby Tests Positive for Meth—Parents Have No History of Drug Use

By Zusmee Byamba

Tyler and Elisha Hessel were thrilled when they found out that they were expecting their first child, after three years of trying. To prepare for the baby’s arrival, the Hessels set up a nursery in their dream home in Missouri. However, when the couple went to the doctor for the recommended blood tests, they received shocking news.

A nurse found amphetamines in Hessel’s blood.

“When they called me, I didn’t know what that meant. So, I asked the nurse if that meant like, drugs in general,” Hessel said. “She basically just said ‘yes’ and asked me if I could explain that.”

Hessel didn’t have an explanation.

Hessel had not taken any sort of amphetamines and her husband did not have any history of drug use either. So the couple decided to have their house tested for traces of the drugs.

She told CBS News that her neighbors had previously dropped hints about the house’s past tenants. “Just through normal conversations as we got to know them a little better they said they were so happy to finally have ‘normal’ people move in next door,” said Hessel. “They had also mentioned that the police were there for a possible drug bust type situation.”

These comments from her neighbors were enough for Hessel to purchase an at-home drug testing kit and use it on her home. “After that test showed positive results, we contacted the company for the full proper testing,” she said. The company confirmed the house had meth in it.

It turned out, that six years ago, the four-bedroom house was a meth lab.

NTD Photo
Laboratory. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

According to Nolo Press, most states require home sellers to report to buyers the defects in their property. In Missouri, the state requires sellers to disclose if their property was used as a site for methamphetamine production.

The Hessels did not receive the disclosure when they bought the house.

On Oct. 3, 2013, police responded to a tip at the home about a possible meth lab. Jefferson County undersheriff Timothy Whitney said that when police went to the home in 2013, “There wasn’t evidence that day at that time to suggest that distribution or manufacturing was going on.”

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has no record of testing the home for contamination. It was never reported to Code Enforcement. In 2016, the house became the property of a bank, then another buyer and then the Hessels.

“I never thought six years down the road, you know, of it impacting an unborn child,” said Whitney.

According to drugabuse.com, Lauren Villa writes on the effects of meth, “Meth is a dangerous substance that can harm a woman’s body and put her at risk for maternal complications. For example, women who abuse meth tend to have a significantly lower body mass index (BMI). This can make her pregnancy riskier. One study found that lower BMI increased a woman’s chance for pregnancy complications, including more frequent hospitalizations and longer hospital stays…meth can also result in intrauterine growth retardation (poor growth of the fetus in the womb).

Hessels’ baby girl is due in January 2020 and despite testing positive for meth, she “is right on track, growing healthy and her scans all look good at this time,” Hessel said.

She says she wanted to share her story to let others know things like this can happen to anyone.

Today, their contaminated home is abandoned. The couple is staying at Elisha Hessel’s mother’s home, where they set up a nursery for their baby due in January 2020.

According to the GoFundMe page, it would cost them over $100,000 to gut the house and rebuild to eliminate any drug contamination. A relative created the fundraising page to help ease the financial burden. You can contribute by clicking here.