String of child abuse cases in Utah ‘tragic every time’

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – In the last two weeks, four disturbing cases of child abuse have made headlines in Utah.

Jeff Bird is executive director of Family Support Center — a nonprofit that offers crisis nursery services free of charge.

“Reach out. There is support. You’re not a bad parent if you get stressed out and you feel like you can’t take another minute. It happens to every parent out there,” said Bird.

Bird says it’s tragic to hear of case after case.

“It seems like there have been several incidents of child abuse that have been reported recently, and it’s tragic every time we hear it,” said Bird.

On Tuesday, child abuse charges were filed against Jacob Zamora of Pleasant Grove. He is accused of breaking the ribs on a 3-month-old child. After getting frustrated trying to swaddle the child, he “pressed down on his rib cage until he heard a popping sound,” according to court documents.

“If we can do anything to help one kid, that’s why we’re here,” said Bird, who says 10,000 kids stayed at the three Family Support Center crisis nurseries last year.

Those nurseries exist to help prevent child abuse cases — like ones that have been reported in recent weeks.

Springville Police say Philip Hatfield put broken glass into his daughter’s eyes and rubbed it in.

And in Eagle Mountain, Clarissa and Brett Tobiasson were arrested recently and booked into jail for inflicting serious injury to their 6-year-old adopted son.

“There was an opportunity to help that family. Nobody sets out to hurt their kid. And we hear about it all day, every day, and it’s taxing,” said Bird.

And in Cottonwood Heights, police arrested a man suspected in the death of his girlfriend’s 19-month-old disabled daughter.


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