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Utah County Jail
Brett Parker Tobiasson, 31

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — An Eagle Mountain couple was charged Wednesday with child abuse after allegedly locking their 5-year-old adopted son in the basement in an attempt to discipline him.

Clarissa Anne Tobiasson, 27, and Brett Parker Tobiasson, 31, are each charged in 4th District Court with child abuse, a second-degree felony.

"When the defendants felt that the child needed discipline, they took him to a room in the basement and locked him in. Other discipline involved requiring the 5-year-old to eat a bag of carrots in a certain amount of time before he could have any other food," according to charging documents.

When the parents learned the boy would sneak out of the basement to get food, police say they began locking him in. The boy would often kick the door and eventually kicked a hole in it.

"As punishment, the defendants took the lightbulb out of the room, and because the room has no windows, the child was required to sit in total darkness. The abuse eventually progressed to the point that the child, every night for several days at a time, was taken to the dark basement room at around 6:30-7:00 at night and locked in total darkness until defendant Brett Tobiasson would let him out to use the restroom at 6:00 or 6:30 the next morning," the charges state.

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"The boy described that he would go to the bathroom while in the room, and put the waste in a hole in a wall so he would not get in trouble," the Utah County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The sheriff's office said he once "was disciplined for eating samples at a local store when he knew he was supposed to eat carrots before eating anything else."

The boy has a 2-year-old brother who also was adopted, and a 2-month-old sister. The other children are in Utah Division of Child and Family Services custody, according to the statement.