Police: Provo couple charged with felony child abuse, water torture of 9-year-old daughter

Joseph Maeser Mitchell and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell. Photo: Utah County

PROVO, Utah, Dec. 14, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A Provo couple has been booked into jail on suspicion of felony child abuse after the man’s 9-year-old daughter told investigators she was punished with water poured over a towel on her face, which prevented her from breathing.

Joseph Maeser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, 28, were each booked on one count of child abuse — infliction of serious physical injury intentionally, a second-degree felony.

“The 9 year old disclosed that her father, Joseph Mitchell DOB 5-27-1989, and her stepmother, Ilaria Mitchell DOB 12-6-1990, have punished her three separate times by putting a towel over her face and pouring water on it,” the probable cause statement, filed by a Provo Police official, says.

“The 9 year old went into detail saying that Joseph and Ilaria would take her to the bathroom and tie her hands behind her back. They would then hold her down in the bathtub and place a towel over her face and pour water on it. The 9 year old stated that she cannot breathe and it hurts when this happens. The 9 year old stated that this has happened three separate times.”

The girl also told police about several other forms of abuse, and said that her step-mother punched her nose and made it bleed, the statement says.

The child was taken to a local hospital, where wrist injuries consistent with having her hands bound together were documented, the statement says.

While Joseph Mitchell was being booked into the Utah County Jail, officials found he had a credit card in the name of his wife’s 7-year-old nephew, the statement says. Mitchell was booked on an additional charge of unlawful acquisition/possession of a financial card, a third-degree felony.


  1. If the courts let these two monsters off or give them probation I pray the community will demand better for this child. To torture your own child turns my stomache. If she can ever trust anyone again it will be a miracle.


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