ST. GEORGE — What would have been a misdemeanor arrest turned into felony charges when a Glendale woman allegedly attempted to hide her drugs in the pocket of one of her children on Monday, a move that was witnessed by officers responding to a 911 call at a physician’s office in Hurricane.
On Monday afternoon, officers responded to a local doctor’s office after receiving a 911 call reporting that a woman, later identified as 35-year-old Natalie Church, of Glendale, was in the building and appeared to be intoxicated from an unknown substance, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
The caller also reportedly told authorities that Church was there with a child and noted concerns the suspect may be driving with the juvenile in the car.
Officers arrived just as Church was leaving the office and approached the woman for a “consensual conversation,” as she was getting in the car preparing to leave, the report states.
While speaking to the suspect, police say they noticed she was making “strange movements” consistent with what would be found with methamphetamine use.
“Natalie was very fidgety and could not complete small tasks before switching to other tasks, the officer noted, adding the suspect “made quick uncoordinated movements with everything she did.”
The suspect was also moving her mouth and grinding her teeth as she spoke to police and had multiple sores on her wrists, hands, neck and face, the report states.
When asked, the suspect reportedly told authorities there was nothing illegal inside of the vehicle, police say, adding that Church never responded when the officer asked if he could search the car.
Minutes later, the suspect agreed to empty her pockets, and while appearing to struggle to get her cell phone out of her back pocket she swiveled away from the officer, which appeared as if she was attempting to conceal something, the report states.
During a search of the car, police say they found drug paraphernalia, including a red “tooter straw” covered with a white powdery substance, as well as two purses located in the back seat. One of the purses contained a syringe with blood on it, and in the second purse officers found nearly 10 additional syringes, five of which appeared to be used. They also recovered a number of small baggies of various sizes that were consistent with drug use.
The suspect reportedly said she had used meth about two weeks ago and said the items found in the car were items she had left with a family member and she had just gotten them back.
As the search of the car was wrapping up, a second police officer saw Church place “something” into one of her child’s pockets, which officers later learned was a plastic baggie containing suspected heroin.
Church was handcuffed, and during the arrest, she told officers she used meth and heroin together by injecting the drugs using the syringes found in the car, the report states.
The misdemeanor drug arrest turned into a felony arrest after officers determined she was allegedly hiding the heroin in one of her children’s pockets.
Church was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing a third-degree felony charge of causing or permitting a child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to a controlled substance, as well as several misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges.
The suspect also faces a misdemeanor tampering with evidence charge.
On Tuesday, the Washington County Attorney’s Office formally filed the charges and Church was released from custody. She is scheduled to make an initial appearance in 5th District Court on Thursday.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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