Orem Police respond after video shows baby caught in middle of family brawl

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 09:49:10-04

WARNING: The video below shows a physical altercation involving several people, one of whom is holding an infant. Some may find the content upsetting, viewer discretion is advised.

OREM, Utah -- Video shows what appears to be a fight over a baby in Orem as two women and a man get into a tug of war over the child.

Now police and the Division of Child and Family Services are investigating the incident, but family members say the couple and the baby have taken off.

Thousands have seen the video after it was posted to Facebook and are asking why police didn't take the baby away from the couple. The incident happened early Sunday at the La Quinta off 800 North in Orem.

The video gives you a view from a hotel window early Sunday morning. You can see a father, a mother in a black tank top, and a family member in a striped shirt all fighting while an 11-month-old child is being tossed around.

It's a video Melina Ylinen has watched again and again.

“I get sick every single time,” Ylinen said.

She’s the woman wearing the striped shirt. Her husband was inside the hotel with their baby, recording the incident. Melina says she was trying to break up a fight between the child’s parents and get the baby to a safe place.

“When I was saying to him, 'Let me take the baby inside' that's when she grabs the baby out of his arms so violently,” Ylinen said. “The baby was really low on her hip, and he was bowing backwards, and I was afraid his back was going to snap."

Ylinen says that's when the situation turned more violent.

“She has the baby in one arm and she starts punching my nephew, and at the point the baby is falling out of her arms," Ylinen said. "She has him in a headlock and his head is the only thing keeping him from falling on the ground."

Ylinen then took the baby, and that’s when she says the abuse was turned to her.

“I could tell she was punching me, like I felt it, but I couldn't feel any pain at all because my adrenaline was just so high,” Ylinen said.

Finally a witness stepped in and an officer pulled up.

“The headlights showed up, that was the police, and the second police showed up they went completely docile,” Ylinen said.

Orem officers investigated and took the parents and baby to a nearby relative’s home. Ylinen is upset the child is still with his parents.

It's a concern being echoed by those who see the video.

In a Facebook post, Orem police addressed that, saying the video shows two minutes of a call that their officers spent 75 minutes investigating that night. They also said there is a lot of follow-up work still to be done.

While they can't comment on specific incidents, DCFS says in cases like this there are a lot of laws to consider, and taking a child away is their last option.

“Children are very bonded to their parents and their families, and when you take them out of a situation--where it may be a little heated or not--you put them in a completely strange environment, that causes a lot of stress,” said Jeramie Rasmussen with DCFS.

Orem police say a detective is assigned to the case and is working with DCFS to make sure the child is safe.

“Obviously I want to see them get help so they can be there for the child, but I just want him to be removed from a dangerous situation right now until they are well enough to take care of them,” Ylinen said.

DCFS and Orem Police are still investigating. Meanwhile, family members are worried the couple will run out of the state and won’t get the help they need.

The full video is available below. While Fox 13 News has blurred the faces of those involved, the video does contain profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.