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Provo couple arrested, accused of waterboarding 9-year-old daughter

Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 15:26:49-05

PROVO, Utah – A couple was arrested for child abuse after police say they subjected their 9-year-old daughter to waterboarding as a form of punishment.

According to statements of probable cause, police were contacted earlier this month by the Division of Child and Family Services regarding concerns about child abuse.

Police interviewed the 9-year-old girl December 12 and said she disclosed details of abuse that allegedly occurred in her home in Provo.

The victim told police that her father and stepmother have punished her on three separate occasions by tying her hands behind her back, and then holding her down in the bath tub with a towel over her face as they ran water over her face.

“The 9-year-old stated she cannot breathe and it hurts when this happens,” the documents state.

The abuse described by the child is similar to waterboarding, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as an interrogation technique meant to force the victim to experience the sensation of drowning.

The child also said her stepmother hit her in the face with a closed fist and carried out other forms of abuse.

The stepmother, 28-year-old Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, was booked for one count of child abuse.

The father, 29-year-old Joseph Maeser Mitchell, was booked for one  count of child abuse and one count of unlawful possession of a financial card.

Police say Joseph Mitchell had a credit card in the name of one of his juvenile relatives but told officers the card was actually tied to his wife’s account.