Photos show toddlers with marijuana; Leslie County women charged

Tracy Hensley is the mother of the two young boys in the pictures.
Tracy Hensley is the mother of the two young boys in the pictures.

Photos of children with marijuana cigarettes in their mouths have led to charges against two Leslie County residents, and more charges are likely, the investigating officer said Monday.

One of the children photographed with a joint was a 1-year-old boy, and the other was a boy 3 to 5 years old, Leslie County sheriff's Deputy Adrian Cornett said.

"It was ridiculous," Cornett said.

The photos came to light after relatives of the children took the images to a business in Hyden to be developed. On Friday afternoon, the children's grandmother and other relatives went to the business and asked to cancel the order, but the photos had been developed, Cornett said.

The family left without the photos, which "doesn't make sense," Cornett said.

Store employees then looked at the photos and saw the images of children with marijuana cigarettes in their mouths, photos of children handling marijuana buds and other photos showing marijuana, Cornett said.

In some photos, it appeared that adults were trying to light the joint in a child's mouth, Cornett said.

Store employees called the sheriff's office. Cornett viewed them and took the photos as evidence. Cornett went to the children's home with child-welfare workers.

Cornett said police found 24 marijuana plants around the home of the children's grandmother, Beth Ann Hensley, 51, who lives on Lower Bad Creek Road.

Police also found processed marijuana in a plastic bag, Cornett said.

Hensley claimed responsibility for the pot. She was charged with trafficking, possession and cultivation of marijuana, Cornett said.

The children's mother, Tracy Hensley, was charged with unlawful transaction with a minor and child endangerment, Cornett said.

Authorities removed five children, ages 1 to 7, from Tracy Hensley's home and placed them with a relative, Cornett said.

He said some of photos were taken at the grandmother's house. Others were taken at the nearby mobile home of an uncle of the children.

There will be more arrests in the case, Cornett said.

He said he had never seen a similar case in 35 years as a police officer.

"It's beyond me," he said.