SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City police announced the arrests of three suspects on multiple counts of child abuse Thursday.
Laurie Hackett, 32, Randee Coon, 31, and 52-year-old Kerri Pavlica all face 19 counts of Aggravated Child Abuse following their arrests earlier this week.
The investigation into the abuse began early Tuesday when police received information that two children, a 6-year-old and 17-year-old, were being treated for multiple injuries at Primary Children's Hospital.
Salt Lake City Police Detective Michael Ruff says the two children are siblings
"I do know that they knew the family of the two children, they have been left in their care for about four weeks over the course of those four weeks is when this abuse appears to have occurred," said Det. Ruff.
According to the police report, the 17-year-old suffered from 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 old had similar injuries, including a burn on his face, a laceration to his kidney and liver, and swelling around his pancreas.
The teenager told detectives that Hackett, Coon and Pavlica held him down and "punched him in the groin, stabbed him with a knife and beat him with a pipe."
Coon admitted to hitting the victims and witnessed Hackett and Pavlica doing the same.
Detectives said Hackett claimed that any touching of a victim's face with a torch was "accidental," but said Pavlica bound one of the children's wrists with rope.
"These are some pretty severe and scary injuries that these Children had," said Det. Ruff.
Lauriann Thorpe is the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah. The nonprofit organization has been serving the community for 40-years, with the sole purpose of preventing child abuse and neglect in the Beehive State.
"Sometimes we're under the impression that the harm that comes to children is from strangers," said Thorpe.
However, Thorpe says that isn't usually the case.
"Almost all the time when children experience harm at the hands of adults, it's by someone that they know love and trust," said Thorpe.
Police added that the children were under the care of the three suspects for the last four weeks.
"The allegations of abuse and injury in this case are both disturbing and tragic," said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown. "I am very proud of our patrol officers, detectives and our Special Victims Unit who worked so quickly to identify, locate and arrest these suspects."
The children remain in the care of doctors as their injuries are considered to be extensive and will required further medical attention.