One Elk Ridge, Utah, couple took disturbing measures in an effort to hide their drug abuse.
As KUTV News reports, the road to the wild discovery traces back to a Walmart robbery involving Colby Wilde, 29, and Lacey Christenson, 26, on the afternoon of June 26.Screenshot/KUTV News
With his 2-month-old daughter strapped in a car seat in a shopping cart, Wilde maneuvered through the store, picking up items off the shelf. He then headed over to customer service.
There, he was able to fool employees into thinking he was returning purchased items. He was given a cash card in exchange for the items he stole.
But he didn’t get a chance to leave before loss prevention employees caught onto the scam.
That’s when Wilde attempted to make a run for it.
As he did, he collided with the store’s sliding exit doors, briefly dropping the infant’s car seat before scooping it up and heading for another door.
Wilde’s getaway was obstructed yet again when the car seat bumped a pillar and slipped from his grasp once more. When he was able to pick it up, he quickly handed the child over to a stranger, bolted to his car, and fled.
Christenson, who remained in the store with her three other boys as the ordeal transpired, was arrested for an outstanding warrant and taken to the Utah County Jail.
Wilde was heading away from the scene when a sheriff’s deputy caught sight of him in the parking lot. He was arrested and taken to the same jail for suspicion of DUI, possession of heroin and methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and having no insurance.Screenshot/KUTV News
Little did the authorities know that more charges would soon be added. Just days after their arrest, a horrifying truth was uncovered.
A woman who was asked to look after the couple’s pets phoned the police with disturbing details concerning their home.
When deputies obtained a search warrant and arrived, they found incriminating evidence — drug paraphernalia — everywhere, even near a baby’s crib and child’s sippy cup.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon described the scene to WALB News:
“Bedrooms, family rooms, bathrooms, there was a substantial quantity of drug paraphernalia in those areas,” he said. “All areas where those children would have immediate access to those items.”
But there was also something even more sinister. Among the paraphernalia were crushed Suboxone pills, a prescription pain medication often used to treat addiction.
Investigators were informed that parents of drug addicted babies often administer the crushed medication with a moistened finger to the mouth or gums of an infant to conceal signs of addiction.
As it turns out, Christenson had used heroin and prescription pain medication for the duration of her pregnancy, leading to her daughter being born addicted.
When deputies questioned Wilde and Christenson, the two owned up to the crime. While out of sight of the hospital’s medical staff, Wilde had applied crushed Suboxone to the infant’s gums just hours after her birth.
Cannon finds the act despicable:
“You’ve got an infant who cannot do anything for herself, and the people who should be providing her nurture and love and care are the ones who are harming that child,” he said.
In order to find someone to take custody of the children, The Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) contacted the oldest boy’s father. Not wanting to split the siblings up, the father then agreed to take the other three, who were not his own biologically, but both Wilde and Christenson’s.
The case remains under investigation. The DCFS tested the children, with results indicating the two younger boys and infant had traces of methamphetamine in their systems. The infant’s results also yielded positive for heroin and morphine.
Wilde and Christenson were released from jail days apart, on June 28 and July 5. Christenson was able to leave on warrant, while Wilde posted a $7,500 bond.
But the newly freed couple was right back up to their old tricks.
When investigators caught wind of continued drug use, authorities obtained another search warrant on July 18. This time, they caught Wilde red-handed. Once again, the couple was taken into custody.
WALB reports Wilde and Christenson are facing four counts each of child endangerment and felony drug charges.
As of now, the couple remains in custody with a $10,000 cash-only bond, according to KUTV.