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Kearns couple charged with punching teen, putting her in ‘sleeper hold’

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KEARNS — A Kearns couple was charged Monday with abusing a 16-year-old girl, including attempting to put her in a “sleeper hold” and pushing her face in her own feces.

Randolph James Meyers, 40, and Denise Lavern Collins Haven, 36, are each charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony and a class A misdemeanor. Haven faces an additional charge of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.

On April 1, a 16-year-old girl called Unified police to report she had gotten into an argument with her stepfather and mother. During the argument, the girl said she slapped Meyers, according to charging documents.

“Meyers responded by punching (the girl) in the back and punching and slapping (her) in the face,” the charges state, adding that he then grabbed the girl by her neck “and used his thumb and index finger to wrap around her neck.”

As the girl told him to let go, “both Meyers and Havens used a chokehold (using an arm wrapped around her neck) to hold her down,” according to the charges. The girl told police she saw “stars coming from the corner of her eyes” and she was close to losing consciousness.”

Meyers allegedly told the girl he was going to make her “fall asleep.” When Meyers was interviewed by police, he admitted he knew “jiujitsu and multiple forms of martial arts” and that he placed his stepdaughter “in a ‘sleeper hold’ and knew where to apply pressure to the victim in order to be effective,” according to a police affidavit.

The girl was able to get out of the hold and run into another room where Havens followed, pushed her to the floor and put her hands around her neck, according to charging documents. “Havens then punched (the girl) in the stomach. During Havens’ interview, she stated she hit (the girl) with a belt and threw punches at (her) in the stomach and face.”

Havens also bit the girl and “tried to force (the girl) into (her) own feces in order for (her) to eat it,” the charges state.

The girl was placed into state protective custody.