A man and woman seen smoking methamphetamine in a convenience store parking lot ended up in jail on drug charges, while the small child with them was turned over to a grandparent, according to the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies were dispatched to the Zip-N-Gasco convenience store on Stilson-Leefield Road around 9 p.m. Tuesday after a witness reported them for suspicious activity, according to a sheriff's office incident report.
The caller told Bulloch County 911 that a man and woman were in a silver Honda Accord, with small child in the back seat, apparently smoking drugs, according to the sheriff's office.
When deputies arrived, a Georgia State Patrol trooper was already at the scene. Deputies questioned the man, identified as Mikel Andrew Neidlinger, 38, of Cochran Road, who denied any wrongdoing. However, when deputies patted him down, they found a knife and a smoking pipe in his pockets, the report states.
The woman in the car, Kaitlyn Louise Austin, 22, of Runs Branch Road, in Screven County near Newington, denied having any illegal substances and refused to give deputies permission to search the car, the sheriff's office said.
However, when Statesboro police K-9 officer Kyle Briley arrived to assist deputies, his dog alerted to the car, indicating illegal substances, according to the incident report.
A subsequent search revealed "a large sum of money wrapped in a hair tie," as well as a black Winnie the Pooh bag filled with a "large quantity" of methamphetamine, several smaller baggies of methamphetamine, and "multiple syringes, smoking pipes" as well as other paraphernalia, according to the report.
A positive alert by the Statesboro K-9 on a nearby Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Neidlinger, also revealed a lunchbox containing a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, the report says.
The child's grandfather was given custody of the child, and both Neidlinger and Austin were taken to the Bulloch County Jail.
Neidlinger was charged with methamphetamine possession and possession of a drug-related object, while Austin was charged with methamphetamine possession with intent to distribute and possession of drug-related objects. Both are being held awaiting court hearings, according to jail records.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.