EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – An Eagle Mountain couple is in jail on child abuse charges after investigators say they kept their 5-year-old son locked in a bedroom without light or access to food or a bathroom.
Clarissa Anne Tobiasson, 27, and her husband Brett Park Tobiasson, 31, of Eagle Mountain are accused of intentionally inflicting serious physical injury on their 5-year-old son.
Utah County Sheriff’s Office says their arrests came after several months of investigation with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS).
Investigators say the 6-year-old boy, who was 5 years old at the time, would be locked into a basement room that was about 10′ x 10′. The room had no light and had a loose carpet covering the floor. The boy had only a mattress and a blanket to sleep with. That room was locked from the outside and the boy would be locked there around 6:00-7:00 p.m. and would not be let out until after 6:00 in the morning.
The boy told investigators that he would go to the bathroom while in the room and put the waste in a hole in a wall so he would not get in trouble.
Investigators also learned that the boy was fed a diet that consisted largely of carrots.
He would be required to eat carrots before every meal and if he did not finish them within a certain time limit he would not be allowed to eat the rest of the meal. In another instance, he was disciplined for eating samples at a local store when he knew he was supposed to eat carrots before eating anything else.
In this case “serious physical injury” is defined by statute as anything that “causes serious emotional harm to the child” or “any conduct toward a child that results in severe emotional harm, severe developmental delay or intellectual disability, or severe impairment of the child’s ability to function”. The victim was adopted by the Tobiasson’s, as was his 2-year-old brother.
The Tobiasson’s also have a 2-month-old girl. The victim in this case is in the care of a grandmother. The 2-year-old and 2-month-old children are in the custody of DCFS.