Two arrested on drug, child neglect charges after authorities find drugs when responding to porch fire

Patrick Adler Kate Hardyns

LEWISTON, Wis. — Columbia County authorities arrested two people Sunday on multiple drug charges after finding evidence of drug use while responding to a porch fire the day prior.

Deputies with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters with the Portage Fire Department were dispatched to Oakwood Estates in the Town of Lewiston on Saturday for a report of a porch fire. When crews arrived, the porch was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, and a deputy with the sheriff’s office  attempted to make contact with the residents, but no one answered the door. Authorities said the deputy forced entry to the home “to ensure the safety of any possible occupants.”

When the deputy entered the residence, they reportedly saw multiple items associated with drug use and manufacturing. The deputy went on to obtain a search warrant for the residence. Multiple pieces of evidence were subsequently seized as a result.

On Sunday, deputies located the residents of the home and took them into custody. Officials said they also determined several children lived in the residence.

The residents, 34-year-old Patrick Adler and 28-year-old Kate Hardyns were taken to the Columbia County Jail and booked on tentative charges of possession of THC, possession of drug paraphernalia, manufacturing THC, maintaining a drug dwelling, possession of psilocybin, manufacturing of psilocybin, multiple counts of child neglect, possession of methamphetamine precursors, and possession of Schedule 1 controlled substance.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Portage Police Department and Portage Fire Department.