An Orem woman was arrested and booked into Orem City Jail Tuesday for investigation of felony child abuse after neighbors told police the woman's 6-year-old son was never allowed out of the house.
Gerald Nielsen, Orem Police Department spokesman, said two of the woman's five children, with her at the time of her arrest, were taken to Orem Community Hospital. They were treated and released to the custody of the Division of Family Services.A 6-year-old boy was suffering from malnutrition, but the 3-year-old girl seemed healthy, Nielsen said.
"He (the boy) was smaller in stature than his 3-year-old sister and looked very fragile," said Orem Police Detective Ralph Crabb. "His arms were the size of a lead pipe, and he had the appearance of a malnourished child."
If the circumstances had remained the same, the boy's growth would have been stunted, according to medical reports given to Orem Police. Crabb said doctors are still concerned about mental retardation.
According to Crabb, the Orem police department has investigated other child-abuse cases involving the woman's children. The other children, ages 7, 9 and 12, were released to a grandparent Tuesday.
The children told police the boy received the least amount of food because he was the most wasteful, Crabb said. He was reportedly locked in his bedroom because he would get out at night to get food.
A man who lived at the home with the woman and her children said it was his job to go in and lock the boy up at night and unlock him in the morning, the detective said.
The 6-year-old told police that he had spent quite a bit of time handcuffed to a bed and that he sometimes stole dog food from the pet's dish to eat later.
The woman told police that the young boy spent most of the day in the closet or standing in the corner, Crabb said.
During a search of the home, police found two sets of handcuffs, a belt strap, latches on a bedroom closet door, a deadbolt on a bedroom door and unopened Christmas pres-ents addressed to him from his grandparents.
The woman gave birth to the boy while in prison on drug charges in 1982. He was in the custody of a grandparent until the woman was paroled in 1983.
Nielsen identified the arrested woman as Loretta May Larsen, 33.