SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Utah woman who pleaded guilty in the death of her two-year-old foster child in 2018 is facing new child abuse allegations after she allegedly slapped her young adopted son.
Lisa Jo Vanderlinden, 46, of Roosevelt, was charged last week with a misdemeanor count of child abuse in violation of her probation, court documents filed in Duchesne County show.
Vanderlinden allegedly hit her nine-year-old adopted son while he was at her home for a weekend visit.
The child reported to investigators with Utah Children’s Justice Center that Vanderlinden struck him when he was 8 years old, slapping him with an open hand twice. The hits, the child reported, “left a red mark on his face for two days.”
The child also told investigators that he’d been slapped more than once, and that it was “the same way every time,” the court documents state. Additionally, he said his adopted father hit him with a spatula.
When asked about hitting the boy, Vanderlinden denied it, the court documents state. ABC4 reached out to her lawyers for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
This is not the first time Vanderlinden has been accused of hurting a child. In 2018, she pleaded guilty to child abuse homicide in the death of her foster son, 2-year-old Lucas Call.
Peggy Thompson, Call’s great grandmother, said Monday that this latest charge against Vanderlinden should result in prison time.
“She needs to be put away, and put away for a very long time,” Thompson told ABC4.
“I do not want another family, baby … to be hurt by her,” Thompson added. “If they are, there’s something seriously wrong with [Child Protective Services], the judicial system, and the government.”
While Vanderlinden admitted to being “reckless” and “negligent” in her foster son’s death, she did not admit to killing him.
After she pleaded guilty to child homicide, 8th District Court Judge Sam Chiara sentenced Vanderlinden to one year in jail, 14 years probation, and a $10,000 fine. The prison term of five years to life was suspended.
The lenient sentence caused an uproar among residents in Duchesne County, and the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the case, called the judge’s decision “beyond disappointing.”
According to charging documents in that case, a family member reported hearing a “loud bang” while Vanderlinden had the boy in the bathroom on the evening of Aug. 4, 2018. The next day, the boy was dead.
A medical examination found bruises and cuts all over the child’s body, along with internal injuries. A doctor reviewing the case said the wounds were consistent with child abuse.
The child’s biological mother, Shelby Call, had repeatedly reported to social workers that she thought her son was being abused.
While she lost her children due to a disability, the mother still had visitation rights, and she noted her son suffered multiple injuries, including a broken arm, during her time with Vanderlinden.
“No one believed me,” she told ABC4 in 2020. “They said I was a paranoid mom.”
Officers arrested Vanderlinden last Wednesday on the most recent child abuse charge. She is slated to make her first court appearance Tuesday.