A Cody woman is facing a felony child endangerment charge after authorities reportedly found methamphetamine in the system of her 6-month-old baby last year.
Kristen R. Kenney, 34, made her first court appearance on the allegations on Tuesday, where her bail was set at $40,000 cash.
The allegations date back to early November — when the Wyoming Department of Family Services took custody of her child — but local law enforcement had been unable to find Kenney for the last several months. She was arrested Monday after showing up for a hearing in Park County’s District Court to answer separate, civil allegations that she
neglected the child.
In arguing for bail to be set at $40,000, Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Leda Pojman called Kenney “an extreme flight risk and an extreme danger.” Among her arguments, Pojman said Kenney had failed to show up for a couple past court appearances, was uncooperative with law enforcement and “just the charge itself … indicates she’s an extreme danger.”
Kenney, who had recently been living in Neola, Utah, asked to be released while the case was pending.
“I’m willing to … I would like to go to treatment and I would like to be placed on an ankle monitor, so that I can start moving forward to seeing my children and getting them back,” Kenney said.
Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters, however, went with Pojman’s recommendations.
Kenney is charged with a felony count of endangering a child with a controlled substance, which alleges Kenney caused her baby to ingest meth and/or allowed the child to be in a home with meth.
Chris Wallace — a Powell police officer currently assigned to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation — wrote in a sworn statement filed in support of the charge that he and another DCI agent spoke with Kenney outside her Beartooth Drive home in Cody on Nov. 9.
According to Wallace, Kenney told the agents that “there might be a little bit” of meth in her home and “if I did have a big amount, hypothetically I got rid of it a couple days ago.”
Wallace said Kenney “knew that the methamphetamine could not be in the house around the child” and voluntarily turned over a vial of apparent meth; the officer said the vial had been in a pouch that was on the floor of the bedroom Kenney shared with her baby.
“Agents later learned that Kenney had not provided the child with any medical care, and had not sought any medical care for herself when the child was born or since the child was born [in May],” Wallace wrote. He said the DCI agents contacted the Wyoming Department of Family Services, which placed the baby in protective custody.
“Agents later learned that a urine test from the child indicated the presence of methamphetamine,” Wallace wrote.
A few days after DCI had her child placed in protective custody, Kenney made a public Facebook post addressed to “the pieces of [expletive] dressed in gold badges.”
“I will find my child that you illegally took!” reads the post, specifically naming Wallace, the other DCI agent and a Department of Family Services worker. The post from Kenney’s account said the officials were “not getting away with it this time.”
Pojman cited Kenney’s Facebook post in arguing for the $40,000 bail.
Kenney responded that she had been “highly upset” about having her child taken from her.
“So yes, I do apologize for that,” she said of the Facebook post, adding, “I guess I shouldn’t have any emotions over it whatsoever.”
A preliminary hearing in the case is tentatively set for Wednesday.