Testimony that a 12-year-old girl was wandering around "tripping" on hallucinogenic mushrooms led to some stern parenting advice from a Douglas County judge.
Cynthia Ewerdt, 37, was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of felony child abuse and manufacturing a controlled substance. The charges were in connection with an incident in which police say the girl was given the mushrooms by her parents.
Ewerdt and her husband, Christopher Ewerdt, 39, were arrested two weeks ago after a hotel worker found their daughter, wet and covered in mud, wandering around near 107th and Pacific Streets. The girl was taken to Children's Hospital & Medical Center.
In court Friday, Detective Chris Perna testified that the girl's father told police the couple had given their daughter the mushrooms and had done so twice before.
Perna said Christopher Ewerdt told police he and his wife started growing mushrooms in their apartment after their daughter came to them in April and said she was interested in trying them. Rather than have her find the mushrooms on the streets, they decided that growing them was the safer option.
The family has taken mushrooms together before as part of a "spiritual journey," Perna said.
Christopher Ewerdt said the couple never sold mushrooms but did give them to friends as gifts.
After Douglas County Judge John Huber decided that Cynthia Ewerdt should stand trial, her court-appointed attorney, Jessica Douglas, asked that her $500,000 bail be reduced. Douglas said there was no evidence that Cynthia Ewerdt had given her daughter, who was placed in protective custody, the mushrooms or that she helped grow them. Douglas also said her client has mental-health issues.
Huber reduced the bail amount to $150,000 but had some words for Cynthia Ewerdt.
"The problem is no one stepping in and said you shouldn't give mushrooms to a 12-year-old," he said. "You don't have to have a high school education to figure that probably isn't a good idea."
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