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Adoptive parents charged with child abuse after altercation with 16-year-old girl

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RIVERTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Riverton couple has been arrested for child abuse after counselors at Summit Academy High School called police on a report of an injured teen.

According to arresting documents, officers were called to the school on Wednesday just after 5:30 p.m. over a 16-year-old girl who had been complaining of facial pain and had disclosed to her counselor she was being abused by her adoptive parents.

The girl said she and her three biological brothers were adopted by Michael David Taylor, 50, and Ruth Ann Taylor, 51, six years ago.

Documents state the girl told police that on Sunday, April 28, she was in the garage when she began to argue with Ruth Taylor about chores. The argument moved into the kitchen and while she was doing the dishes, the girl admitted to “sassing” back. According to court documents, Ruth Taylor came up from behind her and grabbed her right shoulder and then used her other hand to spank her. The girl said she turned around to defend herself when Ruth Taylor body slammed her to the ground.

While on the ground, the girl said Ruth Taylor took both of her hands and placed them both over her face, where she could not breathe and said, “So you want to breathe do ya?”, according to documents.

The girl said she was able to grab Ruth Taylor’s hands and scratch her with her nails.  

During interviews with police, Ruth Taylor admitted she got into an argument with the girl after she refused to clean the dishes. She admitted that she became angry with the girl and so she spanked her three or four times, documents state.

Police said the girl had bruising on both of her legs and both arms and a large bruise across the top of her nose. The girl also had raised bumps on the back of her head.

Ruth Taylor admitted that after the girl turned around to fight back from being spanked, she body slammed her, climbed on top of her and tried to control her arms and hands. She said she used one of her hands and put it over the top of the girl’s face and mouth.

While on the ground with Ruth Taylor, police said Michael Taylor admitted he walked over to the girl and kicked her on the side of her head with his foot.

Ruth Taylor then said while walking the girl to her room, she smacked her in the mouth and somehow, they ended up on the floor again. She said the girl started hitting her own head on the floor of the living room until her nose started bleeding and she could hear the girl gasping for breath.

Ruth Taylor said she could tell she was choking on her own blood, so she sat the girl up and helped her until it stopped bleeding.

The girl however told police her nose was bleeding because Ruth Taylor had hit her in the face and then made her lay on the ground until she was choking on her own blood.

Police said the girl was taken to Primary Children’s Hospital for an evaluation.

Documents revealed the girl’s three biological brothers have also been involved in prior reports of abuse. Those boys have now been removed from the home and taken to youth services.

According to the report, Ruth and Michael Taylor have six biological children, two are still under the age of 18. Those two children have been left in the care of an older sibling living in the home.

None of the prior abuse reports include their biological children.

Ruth Taylor faces one count second-degree felony child abuse – inflicting serious bodily injury and Micheal Taylor faces two counts of the same charge. 

Although arresting documents only show one charge for Ruth Taylor, Unified Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Melody Grey said she is actually facing three counts of felony child abuse and Michael Taylor is facing two, as the teen said he was not there during one of the incidents.

A background check for both Ruth and Micheal Taylor did not show any criminal history in Utah.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect contact the DCFS 24/7 hotline: 855-323-3237. For more information, visit

Support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465). If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately

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