Two-year-old Jessica Maxwell went home Monday after spending three days in the hospital with bruises to her back, arms, face, liver and spleen.
The injuries were received during a beating from a 13-year-old boy while she was at a baby sitter's home Friday, police said.Doctors told Aimee Maxwell, 19, that her daughter should suffer no long-term physical damage from the beating and that internal bruises should heal within a month.
The boy was arrested by Salt Lake County deputy sheriffs and booked into the Salt Lake Valley Juvenile Detention Center at 7:30 p.m. Monday. He was charged Monday with one count of aggravated assault, deputy Peggy Faulkner said.
A juvenile court hearing was scheduled for late Tuesday to determine the length of the boy's incarceration in detention, she said.
Reports that officials at the detention center refused to take the boy into custody Friday due to overcrowding are false, center director Keith Smith said.
The center has a 160-bed capacity and was housing about 145 inmates Friday night, said Smith, who was sorting out the details Monday.
It's likely that the question of detention had something to do with the pending charges against the boy. Youth offenders can be accepted into detention before charges are filed if the pending charge is a felony and if the offender meets certain other criteria, Smith said.
Salt Lake County sheriff's officials say they contacted detention officials about booking the boy for investigation of second-degree felony child abuse and were told that didn't fit the criteria, Faulkner said.
Deputies on the case may have then decided to release him to his parents because the boy was cooperative with police, admitted to the beating and was not a flight risk and because Jessica was no longer at risk of being harmed by him, Faulk-ner said.
"But he will not go free," she said.
Aimee Maxwell hopes not. She said she thinks the boy needs help dealing with his emotions.
Jessica Maxwell had been going to the baby sitter's Sunnyvale Apartment home, 740 W. 3940 South, for the past three months. The baby sitter is Aimee Maxwell's sister-in-law. Maxwell, who works as a medical biller, said she always felt comfortable leaving Jessica there.
On Friday, while the woman was standing on her front porch smoking a cigarette, her 13-year-old brother was in the apartment. That's not unusual because the boy lives next door, Maxwell said.
The boy told the baby sitter he would put Jessica down for a nap, but when the little girl started crying, the boy apparently lost his temper and slapped her across the face.
Police reports indicate he beat her a second time when she wouldn't stop crying and was standing over the girl hitting her when the baby sitter came to check on the girl.
She called Aimee Maxwell and dialed 911.
Aimee Maxwell said the boy, who is more than 5 feet tall and weighs about 140 pounds, may have struck at least one other child. Another child in the family who spends a lot of time with the boy is frequently bruised, she said.
And while the boy seemed to like her daughter, often hugging her, Aimee Maxwell said she had a feeling Jessica didn't return the affection.
"She said to him once, `You're a meanie,' and (the baby sitter) tells me that whenever he's around, (Jes-si-ca) is like her shadow. She won't leave her side," Maxwell said.
But Maxwell never thought there was anything to worry about. Now she's wondering about what might have happened over the past three months, but doctors have found no other signs of abuse, she said.
Now she plans to take Jessica to a different home for baby-sitting, at least until the case against the boy is settled.
The baby sitter, Maxwell said, is devastated and apologetic.
"She's really upset. But I don't blame her. It's all him," Maxwell said. "I just hope I never see him."