A couple have admitted to giving their newborn daughter prescription narcotics within hours of her birth, to mask the effects of heroin withdrawal, police say.

Colby Glen Wilde, 29, and Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, face a slew of drug and child endangerment charges after a weeks-long investigation into the couple by police in Elk Ridge, Utah.

Police say that the infant daughter tested positive for methamphetamine, heroin, and morphine, and was given withdrawal medication Suboxone at birth to hide the symptoms.

"It makes me sick to my stomach, for a number of reasons," said Utah County Sheriff's Sergeant Spencer Cannon, KUTV reported.

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"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 their child," said Cannon.

The sad family saga first came to light on June 26, at a Walmart in Spanish Fork, the Daily Mail reported.

Wilde and Christenson were in the store with the baby daughter and three older sons, ages two, four and eight, when police were called around 3pm for a theft in progress.

Wilde, holding the infant girl in a car seat, had taken several items off the store's shelves and taken them to the front as returned merchandise, police say.

After completing the return and getting a cash card, Wilde was approached by store security officers and made a break for it, banging into the exit doors and dropping the car seat with his daughter in it.

As Wilde tried to flee through another door, he banged into a pillar and dropped the car seat again, causing bystanders to intervene to stop the out-of-control man.

Wilde responded by foisting his daughter into the hands of one of the bystanders, a stranger, and sprinting away.

Wilde is seen with his infant son in 2012. He was charged with child abuse last month after police said he dropped his daughter repeatedly during a bungled Walmart shoplifting. Photo / Facebook
Wilde is seen with his infant son in 2012. He was charged with child abuse last month after police said he dropped his daughter repeatedly during a bungled Walmart shoplifting. Photo / Facebook

A sheriff's deputy spotted him in the parking lot as he tried to drive away and stopped him, arresting him on suspicion of DUI, child abuse, possession of heroin and methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving without insurance.

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Christenson, his common-law wife, was found inside the store with the three young sons and arrested on an outstanding warrant stemming from a traffic violation.

Wilde and Christenson were initially released on bond, but were re-arrested on July 18 after a subsequent search of their home found a trove of narcotics and caught Christensen in the act of smoking heroin, police say.

Investigators questioned the pair and learned the horrific story of the young daughter, who was born on April 9.

That very day, in the hospital where she was born, the parents rubbed crushed-up Suboxone on the newborns gums while nurses were distracted, in order to hide the heroin addiction the baby had been born with, according to police.

Family services found that the girl and the two youngest boys also tested positive from methamphetamine, possibly from second-hand smoke.

Christenson and Wilde are seen together with their two oldest sons in 2013. They were first arrested on June 26. Photo / Facebook
Christenson and Wilde are seen together with their two oldest sons in 2013. They were first arrested on June 26. Photo / Facebook

When police contacted the oldest boy's father, who is not Wilde, he quickly agreed to take custody.

But the father said that he didn't want to split the children up, and was granted temporary custody of all four children.

Wilde is the father of Christenson's three younger children, officials said.

Because they admitted to administering narcotics to their daughter in a hospital, they were each charged with distribution of a controlled substance in a drug free zone, a first-degree felony.

The pair also face charges of possession of use of heroin and methamphetamine, endangerment of a child, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Wilde and Christenson are each being held pending $10,000 cash bail.