Baby born with drug addiction given more drugs to hide symptoms

Baby born with drug addiction given more drugs to hide symptoms
PHOTO: Facebook/ Lacey Colby
W.T.M. Why This Matters
Mothers who use addictive opiate drugs while pregnant can give birth to babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or sudden drug withdrawal. Symptoms include uncontrollable twitching, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive crying, trouble feeding and breathing difficulties.

The parents of a newborn are in jail for giving an opioid drug to their daughter the day she was born, according to a report from the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

In an attempt to hide from hospital staff that their baby was born addicted to drugs, Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, from Elk Ridge city gave their daughter drugs to mask signs of addiction.

Christenson herself had been heavily using heroin and prescription pain medication during her pregnancy, leading to the baby's dependence on the substances.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a Utah County Sheriff's spokesperson, said: "They administered the drug hours after baby was born," according to a report from WLTX19.

Lacey ChristensonPhoto: Courtesy of Utah County Sheriff's Office

When investigators interviewed Wilde and Christenson, the two admitted that later in the day the baby was born on April 9, Wilde applied some of the crushed Suboxone pills to the infant's gums while nurses and other medical staff were out of the room.

Suboxone is a drug used to reduce symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal, according to American Addiction Centres. However, the irony is that Suboxone itself is an opioid and can become addictive.

Wilde and Christenson told Utah County 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.

But the story of how police came to know about the couple's drug-addicted baby starts with a robbery that happened about a month ago.

Previous arrests

On June 26, Spanish Fork Police responded to a report of a theft in progress at a local Walmart, according to a report from Fox13.

Walmart employees said the suspect, Wilde, entered the store with his two-month-old daughter in a car seat which was in a shopping cart.

Witnesses saw the suspect take items from a shelf and walk directly to customer service and return the items as if he had purchased them. Employees gave him a cash card for the items, not knowing that they were actually stolen.

As he was leaving the store, Wilde was approached by loss prevention employees. He responded by running towards the exit while carrying the car seat with his daughter in it.

However, in his haste, Wilde failed to navigate the automatic sliding doors and ran straight into them, dropping the car seat and his daughter in the process.

Colby Glen WildePhoto: Courtesy of Utah County Sheriff's Office

The car seat rolled several times when dropped, but Wilde just picked it up and started running towards a different door.

However, the car seat hit a pillar as he ran past it, and Wilde dropped his daughter for the second time.

Bystanders tried to stop him, but he simply handed the car seat with his daughter inside over to a stranger, ran to his car, and drove away.

An officer was able to stop Wilde in a nearby parking lot and took him into custody for drinking under influence, heroin, meth, drug paraphernalia and driving without insurance.

Felony child abuse and theft charges were later added on.

Meanwhile, Christenson was also in the store with Wilde. The couple's other three children, boys aged 2, 4, and 8, were with her.

She was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for an outstanding warrant, said a report from KUTV.

Spanish Fork Police contacted officials with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and took custody of the children. The infant girl was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. 

DCFS then contacted the eldest son's father (the other three children were fathered by Wilde) and granted him custody of the boy.

Because the father did not want to separate the children from each other, DCFS approved for him to take custody of the other three children as well.

On June 28, a woman who went to take care of the couple's pets while they were in prison found drug paraphernalia in their home and reported it to authorities.

After obtaining a search warrant for the home, investigators found items of drug paraphernalia in several different areas of the home, including next to a baby bassinet and child's sippy cup.

Because the four children lived in the home and could have been in dangerous 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.

The two younger boys and the infant girl all tested positive for methamphetamine. The young girl also tested positive for heroin and morphine.

Christenson was released from jail for her warrant on June 28 and Wilde was released on July 5 after posting a US$7,500 (S$10,211) bond.

However, case investigators received information that Wilde and Christenson were using drugs again after their release.

They obtained another search warrant for the couple's house, and this time found Wilde smoking heroin.

It was during this investigation process that authorities learned about Christenson's heavy drug use during pregnancy and the subsequant damage done to her newborn baby.

Following service of the second search warrant on July 18, the couple were arrested again and booked into jail.

They were charged for administering drugs to a newborn child, which is considered distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone and a first-degree felony.

Along with endangerment of a child, the two were also booked for possession by use of heroin and methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bail for Wilde and Christenson is currently set at US$10,000.

thanhb@sph.com.sg

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.