An Orem man was arrested Monday under the suspicion of felony child abuse.
Officials with the State of Utah Division of Child and Family Services reported they had received a Child Abuse and Neglect Report on Thursday.
The report was in regards to a young child under the age of 5 years old who had been placed in a foster home only two days prior, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest. Within 24 hours of the placement, the foster parents allegedly contacted DCFS officials to report that the child could not stay with them.
One of the foster parents, 39-year-old Austin Blair Andreason of Orem, allegedly told officials the child was kicking their dogs and they no longer wanted the child there.
Andreason reportedly drove the child to Heber to return the child to DCFS. Officials with DCFS reported seeing Andreason allegedly yell at the child and choke her while pointing to her neck, according to arrest documents.
DCFS employees observed redness around the child’s neck as well as several dots of petechiae around the child’s eyes. Petechiae are small red or purple pin-point dots caused by broken capillary blood vessels. Petechiae can be a result of bug bites, abrasions, trauma or medication side effects.
Officials with DCFS transported the child to Safe and Healthy Families where medical personnel were able to complete a medical examination.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the doctor performed an exam in the afternoon of Sept. 15, stating the child’s marks were concerning and consistent with choking or strangulation. The doctor also noticed subconjunctival hemorrhages in the child’s right eye, which is a red patch in the white of the eye beneath the clear lining caused by blood vessel breaking underneath the surface.
On Thursday, officials with DCFS reported to the Children’s Justice Center in Heber to meet with deputies and speak with the child. The child allegedly told authorities “the boy” had choked them, pushing them and causing them to hit their head on the ground.
The child also reportedly told officials their nose began to bleed after hitting their head. Police were told “the boy” had allegedly choked them twice. The child told officials all of it happened within the home. When given a picture and asked to identify “the boy,” the child pointed to Andreason.
Authorities asked the child about another man, and the child reportedly said he did not hurt her.
On Monday, deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Utah County residence to speak with Andreason. Andreason reportedly agreed to speak with police, allegedly telling officers he remembered the child but did not do anything.
Authorities advised him of the doctor’s findings, including the evidence of possible strangulation, and Andreason was transported to the Utah County Jail under the suspicion of second-degree felony child abuse involving intentionally inflicting serious physical injury.
He is currently being held at the Utah County Jail on an unspecified amount of bail.