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Elderly woman discovers meth presence in home

OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Maxine McNeely couldn't understand why she was feeling so sick. She believes she now has her answer.
OGDEN Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – An elderly woman discovered something odd in the apartment she was living in.

“Two to three months after I moved in here, I noticed I was weak,” says Maxine McNeely.

The 74-year old woman moved into her Ogden apartment two years ago. But lately she says she’s been feeling ill.

“The main thing was the weakness and I could feel it all through my body,” says McNeely. “It was something that did not feel right.”

McNeely says she wanted to move out but claims she was too sick. Finally, her daughter acting on a hunch ordered a kit to test for meth. And it came back at 3.6, micrograms. The stand standard is 1.0 micrograms.

“I don’t feel good about it at all,” says McNeely.

She took her findings to the owner of the apartment complex. They contacted a state certified inspector to do an independent test. McNeely says those results came even higher at 3.7.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department was contacted and used the state certified results to take action. The county’s inspectors closed off her apartment.
Late Monday, Kirk Cullimore Jr. attorney for the apartment complex says they will wait until cleanup crew analyzes their cleanup.
"The likelihood that her property is contaminated is low," says Cullimore.

He says it's difficult to test for meth every time any one leaves.

"We will do meth inspections when there is a need," he says. "There was no need for an inspection."

“We'll close off the place to occupancy ask for remediation or cleanup of property,” says Brian Cowan, deputy director of Environmental Health at the department.

But now McNeely's worried about the costs of getting her clothing and furniture decontaminated.

“They said I should have gotten homeowners insurance,” says McNeely.

The apartment’s property manager offered little information about the liability or costs incurred. He referred me to a corporate number in Salt Lake City. No one returned ABC4’s calls.
The health department says McNeely shouldn't worry about those costs.

“In most cases, the tenant is not responsible and in this situation, certainly not,” says Cowan.

McNeeley got out of her lease and is now living at another apartment in Ogden. Had it not been for McNeely's initiative to get her own meth test kit she may never have discovered the problem until it was too late.

‘I would have stayed here another year,” McNeely says.

She says ordering the meth kid saved her life.

“Sure it did,” she says.

An attorney representing Valencia Apartments says the company will wait until the decontamination process is concluded before looking at cleanup costs.
"The likelihood that her property is contaminated is low," says Kirk Cullimore Jr.

He says it's difficult for landlords to do meth tests every time someone leaves.

"If there's a need they (landlord) will do it," says Cullimore. "In this case there was no need to do an inspection."
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