Women, children booted from Salvation Army shelter over drug claims

3 women evicted, kids placed with child services

INDIANAPOLIS - With homeless shelters filled to capacity amid single-digit temperatures, two women and their children have been ejected from a downtown Indianapolis homeless shelter over allegations involving drugs. Police said a third woman, who was suspected of providing the drugs, was also evicted.

Department of Child Services confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the agency is involved in the case of children from two families, who were removed from the Salvation Army Women and Families shelter at 540 N. Alabama St.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police were called to the homeless shelter yesterday when staff reported that three women were suspected of sharing marijuana at the shelter.

Officers wrote in their police report that one of the women pointed the finger at a 37-year-old woman who was without children, saying she was the one providing marijuana to other women at the shelter, as well as the son of one of those other women.

The assistant director of the shelter who reported the case to police, Dena Simpson, declined to comment when the Call 6 Investigators arrived at the shelter on Wednesday.

Salvation Army spokesman Mike Rowland said he could not provide any specific details about the incident because of confidentiality clauses in the shelter's agreement with its clients.


Rowland said the shelter wants to take in as many people as possible, despite any past problems, including drugs, but he does not tolerate drugs in the shelter.

"There is no tolerance for drug possession in our facility," Rowland said.

He said police and DCS are called whenever drugs are found in the shelter.

Police wrote in their report that all three women were evicted from the shelter as the result of Salvation Army's investigation.

A 39-year-old woman, who was suspected of receiving the marijuana, had been living at the shelter with her 16-year-old daughter and a son. A 35-year-old mother was living with her 9-year-old daughter, police said, adding that all three children were placed in the custody of DCS caseworkers.

DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland told the Call 6 Investigators that federal and state privacy laws prevented her from divulging any details about their placement.

Police wrote in their report that the woman accused of receiving the marijuana for herself and her son was under house arrest at the time, so she was placed in the custody of Marion County Community Corrections.  

No criminal charges were filed in the case.  IMPD officers reported that they were originally called to the shelter amid allegations of prostitution, but those claims could not be proven.

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