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Meth blaze leads to charges

Two Elkhart Community Schools teachers face felony charges after a methamphetamine lab was found burning in their home Tuesday morning.
Katie Rogers
Posted on Nov. 7, 2008 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 7, 2008 at 4:29 a.m.

Two Elkhart Community Schools teachers face felony charges after a methamphetamine lab was found burning in their home Tuesday morning.

According to a press release from the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office, Michelle M. Stancati and Maria M. Stancati, both 35, each face one count of dealing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of school property, a Class A felony.

The two were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon when firefighters contacted police after a meth lab was found in their burning home at 511 E. Woodside St., South Bend.

According to police reports, Michelle Stancati admitted to manufacturing meth just before the lab caught ablaze and later exploded. Both sisters told police they were meth users.

A large quantity of marijuana also was found in the home.

An 11-year-old boy -- the son of a subletter identified by police as Lisa Kitch -- was sleeping in the home when the fire department responded to the blaze.

Doug Thorne, director of employee-student relations for ECS, confirmed the women are employed as teachers. Michelle Stancati is employed at North Side Middle School as a special education teacher, and Maria Stancati is employed as a ninth-grade teacher at Memorial High School.

Thorne said the women were placed on administrative leave Tuesday, and an internal investigation is pending.

Bond for the two women is set at $5,000. They will be arraigned at 1 p.m. today in St. Joseph Superior Court.



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