Reporter's notebook Part IV: When darkness sets in

Sometimes, when Mary laughs, the sadness disappears from her eyes.

She does her best to keep laughing, to stay constantly surrounded by a posse of friends and chaos.

Most of her friends were wary of Brad and me. They couldn't understand why she would give us so much access into her life. I'm not sure I understood it either.

She no longer claimed the meth wasn't in control of her life, that she's not "running amok."

She laughs when she repeats her catch phrase "off the hook," to describe her life, the drug, anything.

The whispers and code talk indicated she was involved in activities she didn't want us to know about.

Contact with her was limited. She only showed up for about one in five meetings we set up, and when we did talk, she wasn't as open.

She still said she wanted to be a mother more than anything, but her boys were seeing very little of her.

As part of research for the story, Brad and I arranged to go out with the Carson City Sheriff's Department's Special Enforcement Team.

We met around 9:30 p.m. with the officers who volunteer their nights to serve on the team focused on tracking down methamphetamine-related crimes.

I saw a different Carson City. Like cockroaches moving about in the darkness, an entire civilization comes to life in this town when the sun goes down.

We would wait outside as officers entered homes.

When they gave us the signal, we'd go inside.

Most often, they weren't homes of adults caught up in using and selling drugs, but families, with children awake well into the early morning hours.

It was easy to see, even on the surface, how children suffer for a parent's addiction.

At our last stop, around 6 the following morning, one of the detectives mentioned he would have liked to have found Mary Reasoner.

Brad and I stared at the pavement. It was the first indication that Mary had been committing crimes that extended even beyond meth use.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment