Authorities in Utah say a man and woman are facing criminal charges related to allegedly using waterboarding to punish a 9-year-old girl.
According to Fox News, 29-year-old Joseph Maeser Mitchell and 28-year-old Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, both of Provo, were identified as the alleged victim’s father and stepmother.
“The 9-year-old stated that she cannot breath and it hurts when this happens,” according to a police report filed in the case.
She reportedly told police that the suspects waterboarded her three separate times, binding her arms behind her and holding her down inside a bathtub.
Investigators allege they placed a towel over the girl’s face before pouring water over it.
Police say they used the interrogation method often defined as torture in punishing the girl.
Reports indicate an investigation resulted from a hospital visit in November. Joseph Mitchell reportedly transported her to Utah Valley Hospital for an unrelated issue and the girl began describing the abuse to staff.
The girl’s biological mother, who lives in Texas and hasn’t seen the girl in four years, said she is distraught after learning of the allegations.
“It was the hardest thing for me to hear having to be in Texas,” Brittany Calabrese said in an interview with KSTU, going on to call it “torture of a child.”
As of the latest reports available, the alleged victim remained in the custody of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
[Featured images: Joseph Maeser Mitchell and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, handout]