Three people have been arrested in a severe child abuse investigation that police say included a stabbing, burning and beatings inflicted on two boys the trio was supposed to be looking after.
Laurie Ann Hackett, 32, Randee Coon, 23, and Kerri Pavlica, 52, were each booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of 19 counts of aggravated child abuse.
The investigation began Tuesday when a mother picked up her two boys, ages 17 and 6, after leaving them in the care of the three suspects for the past four weeks, according to Salt Lake police. That's when the mother discovered that her children had suffered extensive injuries.
Officers met the mother at Primary Children's Hospital and were given a preliminary report of the boys' conditions.
"The 17-year-old victim had scalp swelling, multiple bruises on his face, black eyes, bruising on his back, two puncture wounds on his back, fractured vertebrae and injured ribs. The 6-year-old victim had scalp swelling, a burn on his face, a laceration to his kidney and liver, swelling around his pancreas, a healing fracture of the lower sternum, fractured vertebrae, injured ribs, swelling around the ribs," as well as fluid in his lungs, according to a police booking affidavit.
The teenage boy told police that all three suspects had held him down and punched him, stabbed him and "beat him with a pipe," the affidavit states.
When questioned by officers, the three suspects said the mother had left the boys in their care for approximately four weeks. The three are acquaintances of the family but are not related, according to police.
During those four weeks, Coon hit both boys, choked one of them and "admitted to having knowledge that the tip of a torch lighter was used to burn one of the victims," according to the affidavit. He "also admitted to having knowledge that scissors were used as punishment if victims were unable to maintain a push-up position."
Hackett "admitted to touching the victim's face with the torch but indicated it was accidental," according to the affidavit, which also says he claimed he saw one of the others tie one of the victim's wrists with a rope.
Police say the group, apparently aware they would be in trouble, had talked about fleeing. Officers located the three in a van recently purchased after abandoning their other car, according to the affidavit.