York Co. parents charged after 1-year-old tests for meth, other kids in ‘filthy’ home

1-year-old exposed to meth, two arrested

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (Andrew Dys/Rock Hill Herald) - A York County couple has been arrested after their 1-year-old child tested positive for meth and their children were living in filthy conditions, deputies said.

Patrick Keith Peterson, 38, and Jenna Lynn Hartsell, 34, each was charged Tuesday with four counts of felony child neglect, said Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office.

The couple’s 1-year-old son tested positive for methamphetamine, according to a sheriff’s office incident report. Both Hartsell and Peterson were charged for that crime, deputies said.

The couple also was charged with three counts of neglect after officials found the children were living in an unsafe home, according to police reports. The other children are ages 8 and 12, deputies said.

Police identified Peterson and Hartsell as the children’s father and mother.

Patrick Keith Peterson (left) and Jenna Lynn Hartsell (right)
Patrick Keith Peterson (left) and Jenna Lynn Hartsell (right) (Source: York County Sheriff's Office)

S.C. Department of Social Services agents and deputies described the living conditions as “deplorable and filthy,” according to sheriff’s office reports and arrest warrants.

The couple put their children “at unreasonable risk of harm affecting the child’s life, physical health, and safety by providing the children an unsafe, unsanitary home with deplorable living conditions,” deputies said.

The investigation began after an incident at a Tega Cay Walmart in September, deputies said.

A felony child neglect conviction in South Carolina carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison for each charge.

At least 22 York County parents have been charged with neglect since July 2018 after children tested positive for drugs, according to South Carolina court records and police reports from York County, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Clover.

Peterson remains in the York County jail under an $8,000 bond, records show. Hartsell is in the county jail under a $10,000 bond, according to jail records.