Utah County couple arrested for crimes against infant daughter

Daniel Howard Mercer and Whittney Angel Huber. Photos: Utah County

SPANISH FORK, Utah, Jan. 12, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah County couple has been booked into jail after doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital assessed severe and suspicious injuries to their infant daughter.

The 3-month-old girl was found to have severe injuries, including two broken arms, second-degree burns to her left hand, and intracranial bleeding.

Daniel Howard Mercer, 28, was booked on suspicion of:

  • Child abuse, infliction of serious physical injury, a second-degree felony
  • Child abuse, infliction of serious physical injury recklessly
  • Two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a class B misdemeanor
  • Two counts of threat of violence place in fear injury/death/property damage, a class B misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
  • Possession of a controlled substance marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor

Mercer’s bail was set at $21,620.

Whittney Angel Huber, 30, was charged with:

  • Child abuse, infliction of serious physical injury, a second-degree felony.

Huber’s bail was set at $10,000.

The Spanish Fork Police Department first became aware of the case on Dec. 31 when it got a request for an officer to meet a caseworker at the University of Utah Hospital. The Spanish Fork infant had been taken there with burns that doctors deemed suspicious.

The baby was next sent to Primary Children’s Hospital. The probable cause statement says that besides the second-degree burns, the infant had “two broken humerus bones (one break in both the left and right upper arm), intracranial brain bleeding consistent with shaken baby syndrome, and possible detached retinas, which may lead to vision problems or loss of vision.

“It is still to be determined, whether the infant child will need surgeries of many sorts to repair the damage done to her little body,” the statement says. “Surgeon specialists in each field have been called in to evaluate and treat the infant victim. Doctors anticipate having the child remain at the hospital for an undetermined amount of time at this point.”

After being read their Miranda Rights, both Mercer and Huber were taken into custody on Jan. 1.

“Daniel admitted to lying to me the night before and did admit to recklessly causing the burns to his infant daughter’s left hand,” his probable cause statement says.

“After hours of extensive interviewing neither Daniel nor Whittney would confess to nor be able to share an account for the other major injuries that their infant baby suffered while in their custody and their custody alone over the past two weeks.”

Huber described multiple incidents of domestic abuse against her by Mercer, some of which she had reported to police. Mercer was arrested for domestic abuse twice in the past two months by Spanish Fork Police officers.

“Whittney has continually allowed Daniel to return to the apartment where he has assaulted and abused both her and her child,” the statement says. “Whittney has failed to protect her child and seek care for her child’s many serious bodily injuries and has allowed Daniel to continue to live in and return to her state housing apartment, which is supposed to be for her and the baby only.

“Daniel admitted to making death threats to the child and telling Whittney when they fought on two recent occasions that he would, “kill the baby and make her watch as the baby died.'”

Huber’s felony child abuse charge was for “allowing or permitting the continued abuse to occur to the infant child and for failure to protect the child and seek care for the infant’s serious injuries,” the statement says.

The probable cause statement also notes that both Mercer and Huber “have extensive criminal histories involving drugs, theft, assaults, frauds, domestic violence, etc.”

It also notes that “Whittney is also a victim in this case as she has been continually manipulated and abused by the primary suspect, Daniel Mercer.

“Whittney has been given victim’s rights information and suggestions on how to protect herself from Daniel in the future.”


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