A Utah County couple have been sentenced to prison for giving their newborn daughter drugs on the day she was born to mask addiction withdrawal symptoms from hospital workers.
Elk Ridge residents Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, each pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree felony drug distribution and third-degree felony child abuse charges.
In October, a judge sentenced Wilde to spend up to 15 years in prison for his crimes.
On Tuesday, 4th District Roger Griffin ordered Christenson to serve a similar prison sentence.
The couple was arrested in July after investigators learned that Christenson had used drugs throughout her pregnancy and had applied crushed painkillers to the infant’s gums on April 9 — the day she was born — to try to mask signs of addiction, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
“Wilde and Christenson 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,” authorities said in a news release.
Christenson admitted that crushed Suboxone that police found in their home in June was the same drug they had given her daughter at Utah Valley Hospital.
In a separate case, the couple pleaded guilty to child endangerment and drug possession charges, which state that all four of the couple’s children were exposed to drugs and drug paraphernalia at their Elk Ridge home.
Police initially began investigating the couple in late June, after Wilde fled from Walmart security. He had been accused of trying to return items that he had just taken from store shelves.
As he ran from security, he collided with a sliding door and dropped the car seat carrier with his infant daughter inside, according to the sheriff’s office. The car seat rolled several times before Wilde picked up the carrier and the infant and darted out a different door. Wilde dropped his daughter again, police say, after he ran past a pillar and hit the car seat against the pillar.
Shoppers tried to stop Wilde, according to the sheriff’s office, and Wilde eventually gave the child to a stranger, ran to his car and drove off.
Police say Christenson also was in the store that day with her three other children, and she was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
State officials took custody of the couple’s children and placed all four with the biological father of Christensen’s oldest son.