EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah – A married Utah couple faces felony child abuse charges after they allegedly forced a young boy to stay in a small room with no lights or access to a bathroom and fed him a diet that “consisted largely of carrots.”
According to a recently unsealed warrant detailing the boy’s horrific living conditions, his skin had even taken on an orange tint.
Police arrested 27-year-old Clarissa Anne Tobiasson and her husband, 31-year-old Brett Parker Tobiasson, in early August on charges of child abuse.
The arrests followed several months of investigation by the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, who interviewed witnesses and victims in the case. Police learned a 6-year-old boy, who was 5 at the time the alleged abuse began, would be locked in a basement room at night.
The small basement room had no lights and a loose carpet over the floor. The boy was only given a mattress and blanket to sleep with, and he would be locked in that room from about 6 or 7 p.m. each night until after 6 a.m. the next morning, authorities said.
“The boy described that he would go to the bathroom while in the room and put the waste in a hole in a wall so he would not get in trouble,” according to a press release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators allege the boy “was fed a diet that consisted largely of carrots.”
“He would be required to eat carrots before every meal and if he did not finish them with a certain time limit he would not be allowed to eat the rest of the meal,” the release states. “In another instance he was disciplined for eating samples at a local store when he knew he was supposed to eat carrots before eating anything else.”
According to the arrest warrant, “a witness stated while at the home they noticed the child had an ‘orangey’ tint to his skin.”
The witness brought pizza for dinner that evening, but Clarissa told the boy he couldn’t eat any unless he ate all his carrots within a 15-minute time limit, according to the warrant. When he couldn’t finish in time, he wasn’t allowed to have any pizza.
The woman told police her stay at the house was the “worst four days of her life.”
Police state the 6-year-old victim was adopted by the couple, as was his 2-year-old brother. The couple also has a 2-month-old girl.
The young boy is now in the care of his grandmother, while the 2-year-old and 2-month-old are in the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services.
The Tobiassons were booked into jail on one count each of child abuse as second-degree felony. Bail has been set at $10,000.
“In this case ‘serious physical injury’ is defined by statute as anything that ’causes serious emotional harm to the child’ or ‘any conduct toward a child that results in severe emotional harm, severe developmental delay or intellectual disability, or severe impairment of the child’s ability to function,'” the release states regarding the charges brought against the couple.
The Tobiassons’ next court date is Sept. 14.