Accused Casper Police Officer Turns Herself In, Appears in Court
The Casper police officer accused of felony child abuse for her treatment of her adopted children made her initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Friday.
Judge H. Steven Brown set bond for 41-year-old Laura Starnes-Wells at 10 percent of $10,000. She turned herself in to the Natrona County Sheriff's Office earlier in the day.
Starnes-Wells faces one count of felony child abuse, which could send her to prison for up to 10 years should she be convicted.
It took nearly two weeks for Starnes-Wells to return to Wyoming and surrender herself to authorities. She was on vacation in another state when the warrant for her arrest was issued last week.
Her husband, Casper police Sgt. Todd Wells, turned himself in last Tuesday. He faces one misdemeanor charge of child endangerment for -- as Assistant District Attorney Brett Johnson put it in court Friday -- essentially allowing the alleged abuse to continue.
Starnes-Wells now lives in Texas. Brown on Friday ordered her not to leave the United States while out on bond.
She no longer has custody of the alleged victims, her two adopted children. They were taken into custody by the Department of Family Services in May 2014 and May 2016, respectively.