An Orem woman arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of a child is facing a formal felony charge in Provo.
Prosecutors charged 42-year-old Sally Kate Lacayo with a second-degree felony count of child abuse involving serious physical injury after she allegedly caused 36 individual injuries to a 14-month-old girl. The charge was filed with the Fourth District Court of Utah in Provo after her arrest Wednesday.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, Orem police officers responded to reports of an adult woman possible in need of medical attention. The woman, later identified as Lacayo, was actively bleeding from a wound on her wrist.
Officials took Lacayo into protective custody and transported her to the Utah Valley Hospital for medical treatment.
First responders also found a 14-month-old child with physical injuries. After conducting an initial assessment, paramedics found several recently-inflicted injuries consistent with adult human bite marks and possible burn marks from a cigarette.
Law enforcement officers reported that the observed injuries were “appalling and caused emotional distress to those involved,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
Paramedics believed these injuries were consistent with child abuse, and the girl was transported to Timpanogos Hospital for further evaluation.
Upon her arrival, a medical evaluation reveled substantial evidence to support that the child was a recent victim of severe physical and sexual abuse. The exam found 36 individuals injuries covering the child’s body with an additional right documented injuries to the genitals, buttocks and pelvic area, with a large portion of the injuries consistent with adult human bite marks.
“The bite marks would have been very painful based on the full imprints of the teeth clearly visible in many of the injuries,” medical staff concluded according to the probable cause statement. “The sheer number of injuries this child sustained would be terrifying and painful for anyone, let alone a child of this age who would have been unable to defend herself or summon help.”
During interviews with police, Lacayo told officers she was upset with the child making a mess and spanked her, admitting that it was a little too hard. Lacayo also reported that she started to playfully bite the child after the girl spilt her food, but this progressed to aggressive bites as the woman became angry.
After being released from the hospital, Orem Police Department arrested Lacayo and transported her to the Utah County Jail on suspicion of second-degree felony child abuse with serious physical injury and first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Lacayo is expected to appear before Fourth District Judge Thomas Low on Monday at 3 p.m. Lacayo is currently facing a single felony count of child abuse involving serious physical injury.