Babysitters Tortured Boys by Burning, Stabbing Under Their Watch: Police

Three babysitters allegedly tortured two boys in Salt Lake City, Utah, through burning, beating and stabbing, according to police.

The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a statement that officers on Wednesday arrested and charged 32-year-old Laurie Hackett, 31-year-old Randee Coon, and 52-year-old Kerri Pavlica with 19 counts each of aggravated child abuse.

On Tuesday, authorities received information that two boys, ages 17 and 6, were being transferred to a hospital due to "serious" injuries.

"During the investigation, officers and detectives learned the two children had been in the care of Hackett, Coon, and Pavlica for approximately the last four weeks," the police said in the statement. "During that time Hackett, Coon and Pavlica all participated, or were aware of, the assaults and abuse to the victims."

Babysitters Tortured Utah Boys: Police
Three babysitters have allegedly tortured two boys in Salt Lake City, Utah, through burning, beating, and stabbing, according to the police. GETTY Images

No details were revealed about the motive behind the incident or the events that led up to the abuse. The police are currently investigating the case and said that the three suspects are acquaintances of the family.

The mother discovered her boys' injuries when she picked them up and met the police officers at Primary Children's Hospital, where she gave them a preliminary report of her sons' medical conditions, local news station KSL reported.

The Salt Lake City Police Department didn't reveal the nature or the severity of the injuries, but said on Thursday that the "doctors are continuing to evaluate the two victims"—adding that the boys' injuries are "extensive and will require further care from medical professionals."

However, a police booking affidavit cited by KSL mentioned that the boys, who have not been identified, suffered wounds from alleged beatings, stabbings and burnings.

"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," the police booking affidavit read, adding that the suspects were found in a van and that they had discussed fleeing.

The teen boy told the police that Hackett, Coon and Pavlica had pinned him down and "punched him in the groin, stabbed him with a knife and beat him with a pipe," according to Fox 13 Now.

Meanwhile, during the four weeks, Coon allegedly hit the boys and choked one of them, according to the affidavit. He admitted to knowing that "the tip of a torch lighter was used to burn one of the victims" and "that scissors were used as punishment if victims were unable to maintain a push-up position."

Additionally, Hackett "admitted to touching the victim's face with the torch but indicated it was accidental." One of the suspects also saw another tie the wrists of one of the boys with a rope.

"The allegations of abuse and injury in this case are both disturbing and tragic. 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," Police Chief Mike Brown tweeted on Thursday.

Child abuse in Utah is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to a $19,000 fine.

Newsweek reached out to the Salt Lake City Police Department for comments and additional information.