Sheriff: Boy, 4, found with cocaine in his system

Credit: Cleveland County Sheriff's Office

Melvin Douglas Toms.


by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 12 at 7:00 PM

SHELBY, N.C. -- A 49-year-old Cleveland County man is behind bars on drug charges, but it’s what happened to his 4-year-old child that's raising eyebrows.

Melvin Douglas Toms, 49, is facing child abuse charges after deputies say his child tested positive for cocaine.

"That's just awful just the thought that the child is in that kind of environment is sad, it's very sad," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Deputies searched the Emerald Mine Road home Friday night after getting a call for assistance from his probation officer.

Neighbors have been suspicious for some time.

"There was lots of traffic in and out, different people who come and went all hours of the day; the people that were over there looked kind of suspicious, so I kinda suspected that's what was going on," said the neighbor.

Although the child was exposed to cocaine, reportedly the level was low so he did not have to be hospitalized.

Toms had his first appearance in a Cleveland County Courtroom Monday; his case was transferred to Superior Court. His next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.   

Toms is charged with felonious child abuse, trafficking of cocaine, sell or delivery of a controlled substance to a minor, manufacture of cocaine, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver cocaine and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.