by Andrew Crisp
UPDATE: April 30, 2013
The Boise Police Department released information regarding the April 24 incident involving Josh and Lindsey Rinehart, which resulted in the placement of the Rinehart's children into the custody of the State of Idaho.
According to law enforcement, they were contacted by a local school official who said that an 11-year-old child had become ill, requiring medical treatment from a school nurse. Police said the child had eaten a substance which was identified as marijuana. Police said the marijuana had come from a home on the 2900 block of W. Malad Street. The child who became ill did not live at the residence but is acquainted with the Rinheart's children.
Police said they went to the residence and found children, being cared for a babysitter while the parents were away. Police said they discovered drug paraphernalia and "a quantity of a substance that appeared to be marijuana in locations inside the house accessible to the children." Patrol officers contacted narcotics investigators who secured a search warrant signed by a judge. Police added that their investigation has not yet resulted in criminal charges.
Detectives made the decision to contact Idaho Department of Health and Welfare officials who deemed that the children were in "imminent danger," thereby putting the children into protective custody.
Police said typically they did not release information on cases that remain under investigation, but the suspects "in this case have chosen to identify themselves and the department believes it is in the public interest to clarify that evidence in a criminal investigation led officers to the Malad Street home."
Josh and Lindsey Rinehart believe the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the Boise Police Department erred in their decision to place their the Rinehart's two sons in foster care, citing "imminent danger" because of the presence of marijuana found in the house.
"We're taking issue with the 'imminent danger' charge," Lindsey Rinehart said on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol. "I am a multiple sclerosis patient. The reason I had cannabis in my household is I'm a multiple sclerosis patient."
Lindsey uses marijuana, she said, for medicinal purposes to treat her illness, which can cause violent muscle spasms. Boise Weekly readers may remember Rinehart from her testimony at the Idaho State Capitol regarding medical marijuana. As director of Compassionate Idaho, Rinehart has helped spearhead a petition drive to legalize marijuana in Idaho.
While the couple were on vacation April 23, she told Boise Weekly, Health and Welfare and Boise Police entered their home, confiscated marijuana found there, and ultimately placed her 5-year-old and 10-year-old boys in protective custody.
"We had just gotten cell service, and right when we entered Donnelly my cell phone kicked on and somebody had said the cops are at your house. And I knew," she said.
The Rinhearts told media that on April 30 they will have supervised visitation with their children, and have begun the process of working with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to have their children returned to them. She said criminal charges have not yet been filed against her, but she anticipates they may be.
"Right now all I've heard is that they could be pending. There's no warrant. I don't know—it's kind of this constant anxiety attack of when they're going to come," she said.