LOCAL NEWS

2 children hospitalized with serious injuries; 3 arrested for aggravated child abuse

Jul 14, 2022, 9:52 AM | Updated: 9:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Police say two children have been hospitalized with multiple, serious injuries and three adults have been arrested on several counts of aggravated child abuse.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said their investigation started Tuesday after the children, ages 6 and 17, were taken to the emergency room at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Police said the children were left in the care of the three suspects for four weeks and the mother discovered her children had suffered extensive injuries when she picked them up.

“The parents of these children had left them in the care of some people they knew. So, this wasn’t a stranger thing. It was some individuals that they knew, that they had known for quite some time and they needed assistance taking care of the children for a bit of time,” said SLCPD Detective Michael Ruff.

“And unfortunately, during that time these children were severely abused.”

According to court documents, the injuries included fractured vertebrae, bruises, puncture wounds and injured ribs.

Detectives said the 6-year-old also had a burn on his face, lacerations to his kidney and liver, and bruising and swelling around his genitals.

The 17-year-old told police the three suspects “held (him) down, punched him in the groin, stabbed him with a knife and beat him with a pipe.”

The 6-year-old also identified one of the suspects who participated in the abuse, according to court documents.

Police interviewed 32-year-old Laurie Hackett, 31-year-old Randee Coon and 52-year-old Kerri Pavlica, and detectives said Coon and Hackett, after being read their Miranda Rights, admitted that all three had participated in or knew of the abuse.

According to court documents, Coon admitted to hitting the victims and seeing the other two suspects do the same.

Coon also admitted to choking one of the victims, “having knowledge that the tip of a torch lighter was used to burn one of the victims,” and that scissors were used as punishment if the victims couldn’t maintain a pushup position.

During her interview, police say Hackett admitted to touching a victim’s face with the torch but said it was accidental. She also admitted to striking one of the victims with a metal bar and seeing Pavlica bind one of the victim’s wrists with rope.

According to court documents, the trio discussed fleeing and was found in a newly-purchased van and had abandoned their previous vehicle.

All three suspects were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on 19 counts of aggravated child abuse each. Each count is a second-degree felony.

Doctors are continuing to evaluate the two victims. Police say their injuries are extensive and will require further care from medical professionals.

Pressed on whether the parents are being looked at in the investigation, Ruff told KSL TV, “In this case, it doesn’t appear the parents had any involvement. They were doing what they felt was best and what they needed to do and unfortunately we had three people who took advantage of these children and abused them.”

He added that “the investigation is still ongoing but as of now the focus of this investigation is the three individuals we booked into jail.”

The suspects are well known to each other, and all lived together, according to police.

“This is somewhat unusual. We don’t see very many cases where we have this severe form of child abuse, obviously. It’s fairly rare,” Ruff said.

He said all child abuse cases are difficult to investigate and are all referred to special victims unit detectives, who are trained in how to interview children, how to deal with injuries and how to provide resources.

“This was some pretty serious and horrific abuse that went on. These children are going to need some care in the hospital for some time,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Photo of primary suspect Lopez Madeline Bernadette, 21. (Utah County Sheriff's Office)...
Michael Houck

Police: Herriman woman wanted for breaking into ex’s home, placed child at risk

The Utah County Sherriff's office is looking for a woman who allegedly slashed an ex-boyfriend's tires and broke into his home Sunday afternoon.
15 hours ago
LAKE POWELL, UTAH - 27 APRIL 2022 : Satellite view of Lake Powell in Utah. (Photo by Gallo Images/O...
Ella Nilsen and Rachel Ramirez, CNN

New water cuts coming for Southwest as Colorado River falls into Tier 2 shortage

The federal government announced Tuesday the Colorado River will operate in a Tier 2 shortage condition for the first time starting in January.
15 hours ago
Provo City School District teachers welcoming back students....
Karah Brackin

Provo students and teachers celebrate the return to the classroom

Students in the Provo City School District headed back to school Tuesday morning, and the hustle and bustle brings new kicks and hair that accompanies the new school year.
15 hours ago
FILE: A woman with an  iPhone...
Eliza Pace

Man in custody for assaulting woman and publicly sharing explicit video of her on her social media

A man is in custody after assaulting a woman and posting an explicit video of her to her public social media. 
15 hours ago
The small plane that crashed at the Skypark Airport in Bountiful. (Josh Hardy, Battalion Chief Sout...
Michael Houck

A small plane crashes at Skypark Airport, one injured

A small plane crashed at the Skypark Airport in Bountiful Tuesday morning, according to authorities. 
15 hours ago
FILE: Getty Images...
Matt Rascon

Districts seek substitute teachers amidst shortages

School districts are asking their communities to help fill the expected gaps in the classrooms this year by becoming substitute teachers.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
2 children hospitalized with serious injuries; 3 arrested for aggravated child abuse