AMERICAN FORK — An Elk Ridge couple accused of giving their newborn baby drugs in the hospital to keep doctors from realizing she'd been born addicted are facing drug and child abuse charges.
Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and his common-law wife, Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, were charged in 4th District Court with distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, a second-degree felony, and child endangerment, a third-degree felony.
According to charging documents, the couple feared that the baby girl born to them April 9 was born with an opiate dependence, and in order to hide signs of withdrawal, mixed crushed Suboxone pills with water and applied it to the baby's gums. Suboxone is a prescription pain medication used for pain management and for addiction treatment.
The charges allege that while Christenson "pointed the finger at Wilde" for having given the baby the drug, "she knew what he was doing, why he was doing it and did nothing to stop him."
Wilde and Christenson were also charged with two counts of possession of controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.
Police serving a warrant on the couple's home July 18 found drug paraphernalia, according to the charges, and both Wilde and Christenson were showing signs of drug use. They tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine and opiates, the charges state.
Christenson is scheduled to appear for a waiver hearing in the case Aug. 8, while a hearing for Wilde is scheduled for Aug. 22.
They were charged following a monthlong investigation that began June 26 when Wilde attempted to pull items from shelves in a Walmart store and then immediately return them to the store for money, all while carrying the infant girl in a car seat, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said last week.
When Wilde was approached by security as he attempted to leave, he tried running out of the store while carrying the car seat.
According to Cannon, Wilde ran into a sliding glass doors at the entrance of the store and dropped the car seat, causing it and his daughter to roll several times. He then picked up the car seat and continued running but hit a pillar and dropped the seat again, Cannon said.
As bystanders tried to stop Wilde, he handed the car seat with his child to a stranger and ran to his car to escape, Cannon said. He was arrested soon after.
Christenson, who was in the store with her three boys, ages 8, 4 and 2, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
On June 28, while Wilde and Christenson were in jail, Utah County sheriff's deputies were contacted by a woman who had been asked to watch the couple's pets. The woman went to their house, found drug paraphernalia and called police, according to Cannon. Deputies served a search warrant on the house and found numerous drug and paraphernalia items.
Following the couple's arrest, police learned from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services that the infant girl and two younger boys had tested positive for drugs, Cannon said. The 8-year-old did not test positive for drugs.
The pair still face additional charges in separate cases.
Wilde pleaded guilty July 18 to charges of child endangerment, a third-degree felony, and drug possession, a class B misdemeanor. He will be sentenced Aug. 29. He is still facing charges of drug possession and DUI from the June 26 incident, according to court records.
Christenson was charged July 7 in 4th District Court with child endangerment, a third-degree felony, plus drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, class B misdemeanors. Her initial court appearance is set for Aug. 22.
The 8-year-old boy was placed in the care of his biological father following Christenson's arrest. The man told the Division of Child and Family Services he did not want to separate the boy from his stepsiblings and asked to take all four children into his custody. The agency agreed.