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Couple arrested, accused of waterboarding 9-year-old daughter

Joseph Maeser Mitchell and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell

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.

KSTU reported that 29-year-old Joseph Maeser Mitchell and 28-year-old Ilaria Catherina Mitchell were both booked on one count each of child abuse.

Police were contacted earlier this month by the Division of Child and Family Services about concerns involving child abuse, according to statements of probable cause.

Police interviewed the 9-year-old girl last week and said she disclosed details of abuse that allegedly happened in her home in Provo, Utah.

The victim said her father and stepmother punished her on three separate occasions by tying her hands behind her back and holding her down in the bathtub 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.

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. He also faces one count of unlawful possession of a financial card.

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