I got out and we're safe now. Our life may not be the same anymore, but it is a lot better than being in an abusive relationship. —Mother

WEST VALLEY CITY — A West Valley City man faces 10 separate charges after police say he beat his girlfriend and her children, the result of an argument after he partially shaved a 3-year-old girl's hair.

Candido Alfredo Martinez-Ceron, 25, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, all third-degree felonies.

Martinez-Ceron was also charged with four counts of child abuse, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of assault, a class B misdemeanor.

It all started when the child's mother came home from work to find Martinez-Ceron had partially shaved the little girl's hair, and an argument began, according to charging documents.

Over the course of a weekend, Martinez-Ceron vacillated between moments of wanting to act like a happy family and beating the woman and her kids with his bare hands or a wooden board, the mother of the children told KSL and Deseret News.

Martinez-Ceron said he was spanking the children — ages 3, 5, and 9 — so they would learn to listen to him, the woman said. When she protested, he turned on her.

"He started choking me and telling me that I'm not going to go anywhere, that I'm not going to leave him, that I'm his, I'm only his, and he's going to tell me what I'm going to do," she said. "And that if I even thought for one second again that I was going to leave him, that he would kill me. … And if he doesn't kill me, he will beat me to the point that I don't ever forget."

The beatings left bruises on her and the children, she said. The younger children don't understand what happened or why Martinez-Ceron hurt them, she said, but their 9-year-old sister is quick to tell them he's not coming back.

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The woman said she and her children were eventually able to call for help and ask someone to come pick them up when Martinez-Ceron left for work, taking the car. Now, she hopes her story will encourage other women who may be in abusive situations to get away.

"I got out and we're safe now," she said. "Our life may not be the same anymore, but it is a lot better than being in an abusive relationship. … I grew up saying, 'I'm never going to be abused. I'm never going to allow that to happen.'"

Police say they believe Martinez-Ceron has returned to Mexico.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero