Thomas Sipes

Thomas Sipes as seen in a booking photo provided by the Andrew County Sheriff's Office. Sipes faces sex and drug charges. 

A Savannah, Missouri, man is jailed on nine total charges after police found a child wandering the streets and launched an investigation.

Thomas Sipes, 42, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree child molestation, abuse or neglect of a child, possession of a controlled substance, sodomy or attempted sodomy and sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of 15.

On June 24, Sipes was called to his home after a juvenile was found near an intersection by police.

“Sipes was notified to return to his residence, with local law enforcement receiving reports of drug usage within his residence,” Michael Clements, an Andrew County Sheriff’s Office deputy, wrote in a probable cause affidavit. “Mr. Sipes gave verbal consent to search his vehicle.”

It was during that search that police allege they found a “clear plastic bag” containing a “crystal substance.” Clements wrote that a field test of the substance revealed it to be methamphetamine.

Sipes was arrested on drug charges, but two days later on June 26, police dispatchers received a call from tipsters who wanted to report another crime. The call was referred to Savannah Police Department Officer Patrick Cleasby.

In a separate probable cause affidavit, Cleasby described the alleged crimes.

“(The tipsters) informed me that they had a recording of a conversation they had recovered with (the victim’s) permission,” Cleasby wrote. “This recording went into great detail (about the alleged conduct).”

In the probable cause affidavit, Cleasby described allegations of multiple types of sexual assault by Sipes against a juvenile. Ten days after the call reporting the alleged assault, the victim was taken to the Voices of Courage Child Advocacy Center for an interview.

“During the interview, (the victim) explained this incident in very similar detail,” Cleasby wrote.

Sipes was interviewed about the alleged assaults by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who specializes in those types of cases.

“During the interview, Sipes stated ‘he was high and doesn’t remember,’” Cleasby wrote in the probable cause statement.

Sipes entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment and will next appear in court on Oct. 26. He has requested the services of a public defender. In a court filing, a public defender wrote that Sipes didn’t qualify, though that decision could be appealed.

Matt Hoffmann is a our lead investigative reporter. He can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.

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