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Sheriff: Couple fed newborn drugs while still in the hospital

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 17:47:29-04

A Utah couple is facing a multitude of charges after police discovered that the parents were feeding their newborn child Suboxone to mask the child's drug dependency, the Utah County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. 

Colby Glen Wilde and Lacey Dawn Christenson of Elk Ridge, Utah were both charged with distribution of a controlled substance in a drug free zone, possession by use of heroin and methamphetamine, endangerment of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Deputies drug tested Christenson's four children, and her three oldest children, ages 2, 4 and 8, tested positive for methamphetamine. Christenson and Wilde’s 3-month old child tested positive for heroin and morphine.

The Sheriff's Office said it learned that Christenson had been taking heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, which caused her baby to be drug dependent. In an effort to cover-up the baby's drug addiction, the couple told deputies that Wilde applied crushed Suboxone pills to the infant’s gums while nurses and other medical staff were out of the room. 

Suboxone is a prescription pain medication used for pain management and for addiction treatment.

Despite the child being born on April 9, it took several months for law enforcement to figure out what happened. 

According to the Utah County Sheriff's Office, on June 26, Wilde was allegedly involved in a shoplifting at a Utah Walmart. Wilde allegedly put items in a shopping cart and took the items to the customer service desk to attempt to get a refund. 

After Wilde was given a gift card, he was confronted by story security while carrying the couple’s then 2-month-old child in a car seat. Wilde then tried to escape, but ran into a sliding door, causing the car seat to roll over. After Wilde dropped the car seat again after running into a pillar, he and the infant escaped. 

Police were later able to track Wilde down, and arrest him. Christenson, who was with her three other children at the Walmart, was also arrested on an outstanding warrant. 

Two days after the couple was arrested, a person assisting the couple in watching over the family's pets allegedly discovered numerous items of drug paraphernalia and called the Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies said they discovered drug paraphernalia in many different areas of the home, including next to a baby bassinet and next to a child’s sippy cup. The Sheriff's Office also said it found Suboxone. 

Christenson was released on June 28 and Wilde was released on July 5. After being released, the couple was accused of continuing to use methamphetamine and opiates. They were arrested again on July 18 and have a $10,000 bond. 

According to CDC figures, more than 20,000 infants a year are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which can cause poor pre and postnatal growth, dehydration and seizures.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.