The preliminary hearing of an Orem woman charged with abusing her 6-year-old son has been postponed until June 8.

Eighth Circuit Judge Joseph I. Di-mick granted a continuance Thursday for Loretta Larsen with the agreement that a petition inquiring into her competence be filed in district court.Defense attorney Claudia Laycock said the defense intends to waive the preliminary hearing and have the defendant bound over to 4th District Court, "but that is not the procedure the court would like us to follow."

If the preliminary hearing had been waived, it would have basically accomplished the same thing, Deputy County Attorney Kay Bryson said, but the judge didn't feel that was the answer. "The nature of the crime is such that competence is an issue."

Larsen, a mother of five, will be evaluated by a psychiatrist during the six-week period. Her children remain in custody of the state.

The 33-year-old woman was arrested April 5 by Orem police and charged with one count of second-degree felony child abuse and one count of class A misdemeanor child abuse.

Larsen's 6-year-old son was suffering from malnutrition at the time of her arrest, Orem police spokesman Gerald Nielsen said.

The boy was locked in his bedroom and handcuffed to the bed because he would get out at night and take food, Orem Police Detective Ralph Crabb said.