Five Orem children whose mother was arrested Tuesday on child abuse charges will remain in the protective custody of the state for 30 days.
In a shelter care hearing Thursday at Provo Juvenile Court, hearing commissioner George Danielson ordered that Loretta May Larsen's five children remain in state custody until further petitions and investigations are completed.Larsen, 33, was charged with one count of second-degree felony child abuse and one count of Class A misdemeanor child abuse in the Orem 8th Circuit Court Wednesday following investigations by the Orem Police Department.
A neglect petition, a permanent termination of parental rights petition, or a combination of both, will be submitted to the juvenile court by the county attorney's office for review in 30 days, said County Attorney Sterling Sainsbury.
"The decision will affect the children for the rest of their lives, so it needs to be made when all the information is available," he said.
The children ages 12, 9, 7, 6 and 3 will remain in court-designated shelter homes "with no relatives and will remain there during the investigations unless the father gets custody," said Kent Christiansen, a Department of Social Services supervisor.
Christiansen was referring to the father of the 9-year-old boy, who was at the hearing to seek custody of his son.
According to Orem Police Det. Ralph Crabb, each child has a different father. None of the other fathers have contacted the police or the Division of Family Services.
After Larsen's arrest, two of her children, a 6-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, were taken to Orem Community Hospital for treatment. The boy was suffering from malnutrition, but the girl was in good health, said Gerald Nielsen, Orem Police spokesman.
The children said the 6-year-old got the least amount of food because he was the most wasteful, Crabb said. He was reportedly locked in his bedroom and handcuffed to the bed because he would get out at night and take food.
Larsen gave birth to that child while an inmate at the Utah State Prison. She was sent to the prison Dec. 10, 1981, on a felony charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. She was paroled in January 1983.
Larsen's mother cared for her children while she was in prison, Crabb said.
The woman was released on bond Wednesday from the Orem City Jail after a family member posted $2,500 bail.