Dad denies lacing kids' cookies with meth, loses custody anyway

KENT, Wash. - A Des Moines father is insisting he had nothing to do with a batch of homemade cookies laced with meth that ended up in the hands of his children.

The two young boys, now ages 8 and 5, tested positive for meth after eating the tainted cookies last fall - and their father, Chad Holm, is the suspected of lacing the treats, according to prosecutors.

Holm likely won't face charges for the spiked treats because prosecutors need to be able to prove who made the cookies and where the meth came from, a spokesman for the King County prosecutor said this week.

The story of the meth-laced cookies made headlines as far away as London this week, after prosecutors filed a related perjury charge against Holm. A custody hearing Friday was scheduled long before then to determine which of the boys' parents would get custody of them.

Court papers filed this week describe what happened in the case. The boys' mother, Melissa Benson, says when she went to pick up her children for a supervised visit last fall that cookies baked by their dad and his girlfriend "tasted terrible." Lab results later showed the pink frosted cookies had traces of meth.

Benson believed Holm spiked the cookies with meth so she would fail a drug test and lose custody of the boys, according to court documents.

A judge Friday sided with the mother's version of events, citing lab tests. He then granted custody of the boys to the mother, and ordered Holm to undergo random drug testing while he receiving periodic visitation rights to the kids.

Outside of court, Holm said he had no comment on what happened with the cookies. A friend came to his defense.

"Chad would never endanger those kids - ever," said Justin Tyree, a friend of Holm's. "I think the mother laced the cookies. There was no frosting on the cookies when they were sent to the house. All of a sudden now they had frosting on the cookies."

"There were cookies laced with methamphetamine that Melissa ingested and the children ingested. It just shows how very irresponsible the dad and his partner are," argued the mom's attorney, Branka Vukshich.

Vukshich also cited the fact that there was a court-appointed supervisor - a retired sheriff's deputy - during the visit that involved the cookies.

At Friday's hearing, the judge scolded the boys' dad for reportedly falsifying his personal drug tests.

"At some point, Mr. Holm, you're going to have to make a choice as to what's more important to you - seeing your kids or complying with the court's order," said Judge Bill Bowman.

During the 30-minute court hearing, only Benson's attorney spoke for her, but Benson's keychain sat on a table in front of her. On it was a coin marking a year's sobriety, which Benson says she celebrated on Thursday.

Holm is due in court on May 2 for a perjury charge for allegedly falsifying the results of his personal drug test.