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Bemidji daycare operator arrested on drug, child endangerment charges

A Bemidji daycare operator has been charged with fifth-degree drug possession and child endangerment after authorities found methamphetamine in her bathroom.

Pamela Jo Dyrdahl, 41, of Bemidji, offered no plea at her initial appearance Wednesday and is expected to appear again in court on Monday.

If convicted, Dyrdahl could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for drug possession and one year in jail and a $3,000 fine for child endangerment.

According to the complaint filed in Beltrami County District Court:

Deputies with Beltrami County Sheriff's Office responded to the 1900 block of Vincent Street Northwest in Bemidji on Sunday in response to a domestic disturbance complaint.

At the residence, officers discovered a sprawling complex of connected structures including her residence, a daycare facility operated by Dyrdahl and a garage.

Officers learned Dyrdahl was having a conflict with her boyfriend. After the conflict was resolved, the officers left.

The following morning, Dyrdahl and her boyfriend resumed arguing, at which point Dyrdahl threatened to "kill" her boyfriend, according to court papers.

Dyrdahl's boyfriend then left and went to Beltrami County's Health Human Services office, where he met with a child protection investigator and a daycare licensing official.

The man reported that Dyrdahl, who has minor children and operates a daycare for several children who are not her own, was using illegal controlled substances at her residence.

He reported he and Dyrdahl had been in a relationship for a number of years and was aware the Dyrdahl had abused both prescription medications and crack cocaine in the past.

Court documents also state:

He confessed he had been using meth with Dyrdahl recently and reported Dyrdahl had concealed meth in her daycare facility. He reported seeing meth as recently as the previous day when he and Dyrdahl.

Investigators with Beltrami County Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant for Dyrdahl's complex.

Upon arrival, investigators saw Dyrdahl coming from inside the daycare bathroom on the complex. Officers searched the bathroom and discovered a black box in a closet in the bathroom, which contained packages of cigarettes with micro-baggies holding a crystalline white substance.

A field test of the substance confirmed it the presence of meth and officers arrested Dyrdahl.

The children discovered at her residence were placed in protective custody.