Mother Speaks Out After Daughter’s Father, Step-Mother Arrested For Child Abuse

Dec 15, 2018, 7:57 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2018, 2:00 pm

PROVO, Utah – A Utah County couple faces child abuse charges for allegedly waterboarding their 9-year-old.

Police arrest Joseph Maseser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, 28, and booked them into the Utah County Jail Thursday.

The 9-year-old girl lived full time with her father. Her mother who lives in Texas says she only recently learned of the abuse, but knew the Mitchells were strict.

“She was the Cinderella who had to cook, who had to clean, they kept her home from school to clean,” said Brittany Calabrese the victim’s mother. “They basically made her do chores and if she didn’t do it they did corporal punishment like waterboarding torture to her.”

A probable cause statement detailed, how hospital staff found marks on the girls wrist, which suggested someone had tied the girls hands behind her back.

At that point, the hospital reported the apparent child abuse to the Division of Child and Family Service.

During a forensic interview the girl said her dad and her step-mom put a towel on her face and poured water into her mouth.

“It’s almost a drowning type of affect,” said Sgt. Nisha King from the Provo Police Department.

Police say other young children lived in the home and likely observed the trauma. The investigation also revealed other types of abuse, the girl said her step mother at one point punched her in the nose.

Investigators say they have reason to believe this wasn’t the first time the couple used this type of punishment.

“It’s just so tragic,” said King “This poor girl and the sibling in the home witnessing this. That’s hard on any little person”

DCFS removed all the children from the Mitchell’s home.

The husband and wife face 2nd Degree Felony Child Abuse charges. Joseph Mitchell declined to comment on the allegations.

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Mother Speaks Out After Daughter’s Father, Step-Mother Arrested For Child Abuse