A couple in Utah has been arrested and charged with four counts of child endangerment and a first-degree felony charge of drug distribution after they allegedly gave drugs to their newborn daughter right from the day she was born. The couple also tried to cover up their daughter’s addiction to drugs, reports said Sunday.
The accused, Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and 26-year-old Lacey Dawn Christenson, have three other children, all boys of ages 2, 4, and 8. Two boys also tested positive for drugs, according to the police officials.
“Child endangerment refers to an act or omission that renders a child to psychological, emotional or physical abuse. Child abuse based on the offense of child endangerment is normally a misdemeanor, but endangerment that results in mental illness or serious physical illness or injury is a felony. The child who is subjected to child endangerment is called an abused child or a neglected child,” according to USlegal.com.
The punishment range for a child endangerment felony charge in most states is two years and could increase up to twenty years.
Authorities in Utah said they learned the mother had been taking heroin and prescription pain medication during pregnancy, and thus her child was born addicted to drugs. They also said parents who are drug addicts and give birth to babies already addicted to drugs try to mask the addiction by using prescription drugs like suboxone or methadone and apply it to the gums of an infant.
“They administered the drug hours after the baby was born,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a Utah County Sheriff’s spokesperson, referring to the newborn girl.