Couple held in waterboarding the girl, 9, police say

Joseph Maeser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherine Mitchell, 28, Provo, Utah, each face child abuse charges, authorities say.

The father and stepmother of a 9-year-old girl arrested on child abuse charges after being accused of using waterboarding as a form of punishment, according to a report.

Authorities the suspects as Joseph Maeser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherine Mitchell, 28, Provo, Utah, Salt Lake City, FOX 13 reported.

The girl told the police that the couple punished her three times by tying her hands behind her back, holding her down in a bath with a towel over her face, as she ran the water over her face, the report said.

“The 9-year-old explained that she can’t breathe and it hurts when this happens,” a police report states, according to FOX 13.

Reached in Texas, the girl’s biological mother expressed shock and indignation after hearing of the allegations, the station reported.

“It was the hardest thing for me to hear that in Texas,” said Brittany Calabrian, who added she has not seen her daughter since 2014. “She is nine, nine years old. That is torture of a child.”

The case came to the attention of the authorities in November, when the father brought the girl to the Utah Valley Hospital for any reason, and nurses questions determined that there was something wrong.

The child is currently in the possession of the state Division of Child and Family Services while the case is heard by the legal system, FOX 13 reported.

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