Woman arrested for beating children with belt, choking them, before sending them to school

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SMITHFIELD, Utah (ABC4 News) – A 46-year-old Smithfield woman was arrested after the school called authorities on suspected child abuse of two small children.

According to arresting documents, Melinda Ruby Stash was arrested last week after police were called to the school, along with the Department of Child and Family Services to investigate a case of child abuse.

It was originally reported one child was involved but detectives soon learned the abuse was happening on a regular basis to two children, documents state.

The first child disclosed that Stash, “whacked” them with a belt prior to school that morning. They also described, in great detail, how Stash took hold of their neck area and drove her thumb beneath their jawline where they couldn’t breathe and felt a large amount of pain, documents state.

The child revealed multiple wounds and marks consistent with the abuse on their body, according to documents.

The second child told police Stash grabbed the first child near their jaw/neck area and spanked them both with a belt.

During a search of the suspect’s home, they found a belt as described by the two children. Both kids were medically evaluated where doctors found substantial wounds and abrasions, all in different stages of healing and all over their bodies, documents state.

A family member disclosed they were aware the of Stash’s abusive behavior but during an interview with police, Stash denied all allegations, according to documents.

Police noted in her booking records they believe she is a substantial danger to the children and is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the courts if allowed bail. Her bail was set at $10,000.

A protective order was issued against Stash to protect the children. A background check for Stash shows one misdemeanor conviction of selling tobacco to a minor in 2014.

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

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