Utah couple drugged their opioid-addicted baby to mask withdrawal symptoms

Colby Glen Wilde 29 and Lacey Dawn Christenson 26

Christenson and Wilde faced more charges after police were contacted by a woman on June 28 who reported allegedly finding drug paraphernalia around their home, which detectives said they confirmed after a search of the residence.

When confronted on the scene by Walmart employees, Wilde ran, dropping the auto seat several times while trying to get away.

Mr Wilde said he crushed the pills known as Suboxone and applied the powder to his daughter's gums while nurses and other hospital staff were out of the room - supposedly to hide signs of addiction in the child. Two boys also tested positive for drugs, according to the police officials.

While trying to flee from police, Mr Wilde reportedly handed his newborn daughter to a complete stranger after dropping her - while in her auto seat - twice. The mother of the baby, who was also in the store, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

With his 2-month-old daughter in a vehicle seat, Wilde took items off the shelves and then brought them to customer service as if he had already purchased them, looking for a refund, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. She is now in the hospital.

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Deputies found drugs and paraphernalia throughout the home, including next to a bassinet and a child's sippy cup.

Authorities said Christenson had her other three children with her, boys ages 8, 4, and 2.

The Utah County Sheriff's Office said Spanish Fork Police were called to a robbery at a local Walmart back on June 26. Suboxone was also found.

Wilde was arrested and taken into custody on for DUI, as well as for meth, heroin and drug paraphernalia. All four of the children are now being looked after by the father of the eldest boy.

His 26-year-old common law wife Christenson waited inside the store with their two sons and one son she had from a previous relationship. They were placed in the custody of the oldest boy's father. As for Wilde and Christenson, they are sitting in jail.

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Because the four children lived in the home and could have been in unsafe proximity to the paraphernalia and prescription pills, the police added four counts each for Wilde and Christenson for child endangerment, which is a third-degree offence. "(They) told investigators they talked to friends about how to mask signs of drug dependence in an infant, and that they discussed this issue with each other". The infant also tested positive for heroin and morphine.

Infants born to opioid addicts are often afflicted by neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which presents itself as host of withdrawal symptoms that include tremors, hyperactive reflexes, vomiting, dehydration, the inability to gain weight and seizures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Christenson admitted to investigators that the crushed Suboxone found in their home on June 28 was the substance used to administer Suboxone to their newborn daughter on April 9 in Utah Valley Hospital.

Police chased him down and arrested him on suspicion of driving under influence, possession of drugs, and possible charges of theft and child abuse were listed then, according to NBC Affiliate KFOR.

Bail for Wilde and Christenson is now set at US$10,000. Acting on a tip, police visited their house on July 18 with a search warrant, only to find Wilde smoking heroin.

Wilde and Christenson are both being held on a $10,000 cash bail.

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