EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSLOCKED OUT
from Eyewitness News Online
Displaced Residents Still Waiting To Get Back In After Meth Bust
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 4, 2012 12:28 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 5, 2012 9:58 AM EDT
Culloden , Cabell County , West Virginia
It's been weeks since a meth lab bust at a Culloden apartment building left several tenants with no place to go. Those families are still in limbo.
"We've been locked out for weeks,” Melissa Burdette, who lived in the building, said. “Ever since this has happened, we don't really know what's going on."
The trouble for the tenants started after five of their neighbors were busted Aug. 19 on meth charges. When a few tenants came to check on the building this week on U.S. Route 60, they found out someone had broken into the building.
Burdette's niece, Samantha Pickens, came with her aunt to check on things. "You can see someone used a crowbar here," said Pickens, pointing to split wood behind a lock.
Melissa Burdette said the tenants have been victimized again. “It's just the feeling of being helpless. You don't know what to do; you don't know where to turn," she said.
Displaced tenant Lesley Weeks and her boyfriend, William Kirk, are especially anxious. Weeks said she is 30 weeks pregnant. “The day before this, we had just had our baby shower,” Weeks said. “We had a stroller, car seat, crib, clothing, walker, a high chair. You name it, we had it."
All the baby essentials they had just obtained, and everything else they own, are still inside. They can see from outside that their unit has been broken into. Curtains are open, and doors are ajar. Weeks said they believe all of their possessions may be gone. “We don't know if we'll ever be able to get anything back out of the apartment, “she said. “If we can, we don't know what's been stolen from us."
Since test results on the materials found aren't back, police can't even get in to investigate. "We understand we can't rush the test results, and we understand we can't change the law. It's just been very, very frustrating," Weeks said.
Burdette and her young autistic daughter are staying with Pickens and her family. "This doesn't just affect tenants here. This affects families – the family members of these people," Pickens said.
Patience is wearing thin. Kirk said everyone is “just waiting for the test results so we can get in there and move forward and find out what's wrong and what's missing. We've waited long enough. It really needs to happen soon, very soon."
The test results are expected any day, but then a cleanup of the contaminated building could take up to 60 days.
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