McRae, Arkansas: Hazel and Clarence Cornell lived in a trailer for a year, after they found out that the home they bought in 2001 had once been used as a meth lab. Soon after they bought a new home where they hoped to spend their retirement years, health problems began. Clarence couldn’t breath and “turned white as a sheet”, when something in the house irritated his lungs, which had already been compromised by emphysema. Hazel also had chronic bronchitis. Hazel attributed the respiratory problems to the shampoo they used to clean the rugs in the house.
The Cornells, like most people, didn’t find out that they were living in a meth lab, until they started talking to their neighbors. When Hazel began telling their neighbors about the health problems they were having, she says the neighbor asked her if she knew she was living in a meth lab. They didn’t. No one had told them, including the realtor.
The couple moved out of the house in to a trailer home on their property, unable to take salvage everything they’d worked so hard to get for 45 years. Everything in their house was contaminated. The kitchen sink had green stains in it, stains that Hazel said was leftover meth residue. The ovens in her kitchen were contaminated too and she worried about that because she baked bread in those ovens. Her suspicions about her house being contaminated were confirmed when test results showed that the amount of meth contamination in their home was 72 times above the acceptable level of methamphetamine, according to Arkansas health standards. Decontaminating their home would cost them $50,000, according to an estimate they received.
Arkansas law required the realtor who sold them home to tell them if the home had been used as a meth lab. The realtor said that no one was ever arrested on meth charges at their home, but the Cornells say that police reports and bench warrants prove that there was. The Cornell’s decided it was time to let a judge decide and they filed a lawsuit against the realtor in April 2005.
Meth labs in Arkansas showed an increase in 2008, yet law enforcement seems not to be as aware about meth labs as they should be. To view the article and video that I posted about the increase in meth labs in Arkansas, click here.
If you know anything of further updates to the Cornell story, please contact me at methlabhomes at gmail dot com