Polk couple arrested after family discovered living in outbuilding

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015


by Leah Justice

A Mill Spring couple was arrested last week on child abuse and drug charges after deputies discovered the family, including four young children, was living in an outbuilding heated by an electric heater, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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The discovery was made on Friday, Feb. 20 along Taylor Watkins Rd. when the temperatures had been the coldest of this season, including highs in the low 30s and lows in single digits.

Nathan Jaskowiak, 32, and Amanda Jean Austin, 26, both of 260 Taylor Watkins Rd., Mill Spring, were arrested and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, felony maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of ½ ounce of marijuana, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor possession of schedule VI controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of schedule IV controlled substance and four counts of misdemeanor child abuse, according to sheriff reports.

NEWS ChildAbuse Nathan Jaskowiak NEWS ChildAbuse AMANDA JEAN AUSTIN

Dep. Colby Allman and Dep. Cole Weicker with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office went to the residence to serve an outstanding warrant on Jaskowiak for missing a court date, according to sheriff reports.

Officers said when they went into the shed they found Jaskowiak and four small children with an electric heater and sleeping arrangements for the family.

There is a residence on the property where Jaskowiak’s family members live, with the couple telling officers they stay in the house most of the time but sleep in the outbuilding, according to the sheriff report. The couple told officers they were in transition waiting on another residence they plan to rent to become available.

Officers said they smelled marijuana when they entered the building with Jaskowiak turning over a small amount of methamphetamine and paraphernalia for both marijuana and methamphetamine to officers, according to the report.

The report states some of the paraphernalia was broken, had residue in them, and they were located at an easy access level to the children. There were also two firearms located in the outbuilding, with neither being loaded but the pistol had ammunition attached to the grip, according to the report.

The deputies contacted the Polk County Department of Social Services, who took temporary emergency custody of the children.

Jaskowiak was still being held at the Polk County Jail under a $35,000 bond and Austin was still being held at the Transylvania County Jail under a $35,000 bond as of Tuesday, Feb. 24, according to the sheriff’s office.