EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah, July 25, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The public has come forward to help an Eagle Mountain man who took temporary custody of three children besides his own son after their mother — his ex-wife — was jailed in Utah County.
Stetson and Sami Steele were happy to take in his 9-year-old son from his marriage to Lacey Dawn Christenson, who is now incarcerated along with her current husband, Colby Wilde, on a laundry list of drug and abuse charges.
But the Steeles didn’t want to break up Christenson’s kids, who, in addition to the 9-year-old, include boys ages 4 and 2, and an infant girl who was born drug-dependent.
So the Steeles, expecting their first child together next month, made room for not only Stetson’s son, but for his three younger half-siblings.
And a GoFundMe account, intended to help with the bills that come with three new foster kids, raised $16,905 of its $20,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.
“As Sami and Stetson did not want their son’s siblings to be separated in foster care they took temporary custody of them as well,” the GoFundMe page says. “This loving family wanted nothing more than to keep the kids together, but with that has come a huge financial impact on them.”
“They are doing everything they can but as we can all understand it is nearly impossible to keep up when they weren’t expecting all of this,” the page says. “Sadly, the three youngest kids are all experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms and were neglected with medical care. So along with clothes, food and diapers they are both having to take a lot of time off work to help with the children’s doctor appointments, along with this they were most recently denied childcare assistance and receiving very little state assistance as they are not licensed foster parents yet.”
Wilde, 29, and Christenson, 26, both of Elk Ridge, face drug distribution and child endangerment charges, according to a news release issued by Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Wilde and Christenson were already in the Utah County Jail in connection with an alleged theft attempt reported June 26 at a Spanish Fork Walmart. Wilde was booked for DUI, possession of heroin and methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and no insurance. Spanish Fork Police later added charges of third-degree felony child abuse and theft.
Christenson, who was in the Walmart that day, was booked into the Utah County Jail on an outstanding warrant.
On June 28, a person taking care of the couple’s residence and pets contacted officers to report illegal drugs stored haphazardly all over the residence.
The caretaker reportedly feared the children’s lives would be endangered by access to the drugs. A search warrant was served on the couple’s residence on June 28, and things found included large amounts of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. Many substances were found where children could access them, including one found next to a sippy cup, the news release says.
Wilde and Christensen admitted to investigators that the crushed Suboxone found in their home June 28 was the same supply used to administer the drug to their newborn on April 9, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office statement says.
Christenson admitted she had used heroin and prescription drugs during her pregnancy, and knew the baby would be born drug-dependent, according to the Sheriff’s Office news release. Christensen and Wilde reportedly agreed to apply Suboxone, a painkiller, to the newborn’s gums in order to disguise her symptoms of drug addiction.