TOOELE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A Tooele County woman has been arrested for allegedly disciplining her stepchildren by placing their heads in boxes and tying them up.
Tooele City Police has identified the suspects as Lori Carling, 37, and her husband Chris Anderson, 36. Both Carling and Anderson have been arrested on two felony charges of aggravated child abuse.
Police say the victims are Carling’s stepchildren — an 11-year-old boy, an eight-year-old boy and a five-year-old boy.
Police were called into a Tooele elementary school on May 2 where the 11-year-old boy was a student. The boy reportedly showed school staff a video of his younger brothers standing in timeout with boxes placed over their heads while their hands were tied behind their backs.
The boy told authorities he recorded the video because he was upset the punishment was happening to his brothers and “needed to show the video to someone to get help.”
According to arrest documents, the boy says Carling punishes the victims for “being loud in the morning” and will keep them in punishment for the rest of the day. The boy says Carling had been punishing the victims in this manner for almost two years.
The boy also says his father, Anderson, is aware of the punishment routine. Describing the setup, the boy told police that Carling places a “marble maze toy” on top of the boxes placed on their heads. If the victims move or speak at all, Carling would tie one leg to their hand, forcing them to stand on one leg for at least 30 minutes.
During the investigation, police noticed a burn mark under the two victims’ chins, caused by friction from the tight boxes. The victims said Carling places an even smaller box inside of the original box to ensure the headspace is small, allowing for minimal head movement. Police noticed the eight-year-old boy had cuts on his ears as a result of prolonged pinning inside the boxes.
“A search warrant was granted to search their residence and the 2 boxes that the boys described along with 2 black shoelaces and 2 marble rattling toys were seized along with a smaller box that the older sibling stated was used to have the victims place their feet against the wall and not be able to move,” police documents say.
A medical evaluation was conducted and police say the victims mentioned they sometimes felt like fainting due to the lack of oxygen and breathing room inside the boxes.
Upon police questioning, Carling admitted to administering the described punishments, acknowledging that she would tie the boys’ hands and legs with shoelaces and would conduct the punishment for two hour-increments at a time.
Just recently, Carling admitted to forcing the boys to wear the boxes for two hours after breakfast and after a quick lunch, they wore the boxes again for an additional two hours. The five-year-old boy and the eight-year-old boy were taken into custody by the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS).
Carling has been arrested on two felony charges of child abuse. She is currently booked at the Tooele County Jail.