An Orem woman charged with abusing her 6-year-old son was bound over for trial in 4th District Court after several witnesses, including her former live-in boyfriend, testified against her Wednesday.
Boyfriend Richard Kim Shaw said Loretta Larsen's 6-year-old boy went without food for 2 1/2 to three days at a time and was forced to eat dog food.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.
Dr. Moreno Robbins, a Provo pediatrician, performed a physical on the boy three days after the arrest and found that the 6-year-old was severely malnourished.
He testified in the preliminary hearing before 4th Circuit Judge Joseph I. Dimick that it never will be possible for the boy to obtain his normal body size and weight.
The 6-year-old boy's weight - 31 pounds - was equivalent to the size of a 2 1/2-year-old. His height - 38 inches - was equivalent to a 3-year-old, Robbins testified. "He is a very small child."
Larsen's son and a 3-year-old daughter were with her when she was arrested. The two children were taken to Orem Community Hospital for examinations and released to the state Division of Family Services that day. All five Larsen children remain in state custody. Her other children, all boys, are 12, 9 and 7 years old.
Shaw said Larsen couldn't decide why she treated the young boy differently than her other four children, but she told him one reason was because Larsen's mother and stepfather spoiled the boy while she was in prison. Shaw said Larsen wanted to change things so the boy would do what she wanted him to do.
Larsen gave birth to the boy while in prison on a drug-related conviction in 1982. He was in her mother's custody until Larsen was paroled in 1983.
Shaw contacted police April 2. He said that day Larsen asked him to leave the house for several days, but he decided to move out permanently.
He went to a neighbor's house, informed them of the situation, and then set up an appointment to talk with police later that afternoon.
Shaw testified that the young boy, nicknamed Puke or Maggot by his mother, spent most of his days standing in the corner. "If he was lucky enough, he would get dinner." When the boy was caught stealing dog food, his mother forced him to eat it, he said.
Shaw said the situation in the Larsen home "turned my stomach quite a few times," but he didn't stand up to Larsen because "she had a violent record and I was a little wary of that."
Larsen will go before 4th District Judge Ray M. Harding on Friday for her arraignment. Deputy Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson said he expects the trial to take place in August.