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SANDY — A home day care that was the site of a child pornography investigation earlier this year was closed to occupancy Monday after detectives returned and reported finding evidence of methamphetamine.
Early Monday, Sandy police detectives and agents with the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children task force went to 9194 Benson Way with a search warrant as part of a joint child pornography investigation. Half of the home is a residence and the other half is used as a day care business, according to police.
It's the same residence where an investigation earlier this year led to criminal charges being filed against Kadence Pinder, 24, and Marcus Strebel, 29. They were charged in February with numerous counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony. Pinder was charged with 15 counts and Strebel with 10, court records state.
Both Pinder and Strebel lived at the residence and were employees of the day care, the charges state. Investigators said they located downloaded child pornography on both of their phones. Court hearings for both are scheduled for next week.
Police declined to say whether Monday's search warrant is connected to Pinder or Strebel, but noted that the basis for the warrant comes from new tips police have received and not from any of the ongoing court proceedings.
The search warrant was served prior to the day care opening, according to police. While investigators were collecting evidence from the house, they discovered suspected methamphetamine, said Sandy Police Sgt. Clayton Swensen.
The Salt Lake County Health Department was called just before 8 a.m. to inspect the residence, and then closed it to entry, meaning no one can be in the house until it is decontaminated, according to the department.
Swensen said the meth was discovered in the living area of the house, away from the day care and not in an area where the day care children would typically be. However, he said the parents of children who still used the day care — which continued to stay in operation after the February arrests of Pinder and Stebrel — were being contacted and will receive support in regard to getting their children tested for possible drug exposure.
As of Monday, no arrests have been made nor any charges filed in connection with the new search warrant. Swensen said there were people in the home with officers arrived, but he did not say how many.
A spokeswoman with the Utah Department of Health stated Monday that the department "conducted a full investigation into a complaint received against the provider earlier this year. No evidence was discovered during the investigation to substantiate the claims made in the complaint."
The complaint was in regard to the February arrests, spokeswoman Charla Haley confirmed. It was not known Monday whether the investigation only focused on the owner of the day care, who was not arrested, or its employees, too.
"The provider was caring for fewer than five children, and as a result was not required to be licensed. However, the provider maintained a full child care license voluntarily. This allows the UDOH to have access to the facility and to provide regulatory authority," the health department stated.
Contributing: Ladd Egan