A man already facing a number of serious drug-related charges — including having four young children living in his home test positive for drugs in their systems — has been newly arrested after allegedly being involved in a fight with another person.Twenty-seven-year-old Steven Ray Gauger, who lists an address in Gamaliel on the county jail log, was arrested by Mountain Home Police Saturday on a second-degree battery charge.Gauger, who posted a $10,000 bond on his original charges, was first released from the Baxter County jail Feb. 28. He was reported missing on March 18 by his father, who told police he had not had contact with his son since the day before.
The father, who lives along Hand Cove Road in Gamaliel, said his son borrowed his pickup truck on March 15. The son called his parent two days later reporting he would have the truck for only a few more hours and would then return the vehicle.
He allegedly failed to keep his word.
According to the probable cause affidavit on his newest arrest, MHPD officers responded to a call of two men fighting. When they arrived, they reported the victim was covered in blood.
The alleged offender — later identified as Gauger — was reported to have left the scene of the fight, first taking refuge in an abandoned house. He was not located there, but eventually found hiding in an area of heavy vegetation not far from the fight scene.
Witnesses told police Gauger had walked into the victim’s house and refused to leave. Gauger was alleged to have begun arguing with the victim. The argument escalated into a physical altercation between the two. The fight was reported to have spilled out onto the front lawn. The victim was reported to have used a wooden handle and a rake in an attempt to defend himself.
Gauger told police he had been “jumped” by a group of people inside the residence and had run from the house in fear for his life.
The story told by Gauger was reported not to have matched the description of the event given by the victim and witnesses.
At the time of his initial arrest in late February, Gauger and 30-year-old Samantha Simpson lived together in Mountain Home. They were first charged with possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia and four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. After drug tests were conducted on the children — ranging in age from 2-to-8-years-old — the more serious charge of introducing a controlled substance into the body of another was filed against the couple.
Simpson was served with a warrant based on the new charge when it was filed. Gauger, who was alleged to be missing at the time, is expected to be served shortly.
Results of the drug tests run on the children showed three of the youngsters tested positive for methamphetamine and all four for marijuana.
The initial incident began when Mountain Home police went to the couple’s home along Meadow Brook Drive Feb. 20 to conduct a welfare check on the children. The officers were initially unsuccessful in contacting the couple and tried three times the next day. On the third try, Simpson let officers into the house.
Simpson told police Gauger had barricaded the front door and refused to answer when police made previous attempts to enter the house. Simpson said she let the police in on the last try because Gauger was not at home, having taken his two children to a doctor’s office. Two children were in the residence at the time.
Officers reported detecting the odor of marijuana as soon as they entered the home. As they were being taken to a bedroom where the two children still at home were, the policemen saw numerous items of drug paraphernalia used for the ingestion of marijuana and methamphetamine in plain sight.
According to the probable cause affidavit in the case against Gauger and Simpson, the interior of the home was reported in disarray with clothing and trash strewn about, a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and old food on the counter and floor.
The officers found the two children still at home in separate beds. Both appeared unwell, according to the police report.
After seeing the conditions of the home and the children, officers contacted the Department of Human Services and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Mountain Home Police Department. A search warrant was obtained for the property and more drugs, including 11 bags of marijuana, and various items of drug paraphernalia were found.
Glass smoking pipes used for ingesting drugs were located in spots accessible to the young children living in the home.
The children were place in the care of DHS. Simpson and Gauger have been ordered not to have contact with them except through DHS representatives.
After Gauger was arrested on the initial drug charges, he was interviewed and allegedly admitted knowing about the marijuana in the house and of Simpson’s alleged addiction to methamphetamine.
Gauger and Simpson together are also charged with maintaining a drug premises within 1,000 feet of a Mountain Home church and school.
Simpson also found herself rearrested last month after prosecutors filed a petition to revoke her bond. The petition alleged Simpson violated the terms and conditions of her bond by testing positive for marijuana a total of six times in March, April and May. On May 6, she also tested positive for ethyl glucuronide, a substance present in the body after ingesting alcoholic beverages.
In late May, the court allowed Simpson to enter an addiction treatment program at Care Center Ministries. If she leaves the program for any reason, she is to be brought back to the county jail.
According to the current schedule, Gauger is due to reappear in circuit court Aug. 8 on the original charges filed against him. Simpson is currently due back in court on those same charges July 11.
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