Couple held in waterboarding of girl, 9, police say

The father and stepmother of a 9-year-old girl have been arrested on child abuse charges after being accused of using waterboarding as a form of punishment, according to a report. Authorities identified the suspects as Joseph Maeser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, 28, of Provo, Utah, Salt Lake City’s FOX 13 reported. The girl … Continue reading “Couple held in waterboarding of girl, 9, police say”

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

Authorities identified the suspects as Joseph Maeser Mitchell, 29, and Ilaria Catherina Mitchell, 28, of Provo, Utah, Salt Lake City’s FOX 13 reported.

The girl told police that the couple punished her on three occasions by tying her hands behind her back, then holding her down in a bathtub, with a towel over her face, as they ran water over her face, the report said.

“The 9-year-old stated that she cannot 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 outrage after hearing the allegations, the station reported.

“It was the hardest thing for me to hear having to be in Texas,” said Brittany Calabrese, who added she hasn’t seen her daughter since 2014. “She’s nine, nine years old. That is torture of a child.”

The case came to the attention of authorities in November when the father brought the girl to Utah Valley Hospital for an unspecified reason, and nurses making inquiries determined that something seemed wrong.

The child is currently in the custody of the state’s Division of Child and Family Services while the case is handled by the legal system, FOX 13 reported.

Utah bobcat named ‘Mr. Murderbritches’ goes viral after he swats, hisses during release into wild

The Internet’s newest celebrity may be small, but he has a big attitude.

A roughly 4-to-6-month-old bobcat in Utah – dubbed "Mr. Murderbritches" – has made headlines for his feisty personality, which he exhibited with swats and hisses as Joshua Carver, a conservation officer with the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), first released the snarling cat back into the wild after he was caught “red pawed” eating a chicken out of a coop in Kanarraville.

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The video, initially posted by the Utah DWR on Nov. 26, went viral after the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit organization based in Arizona, reposted it with “quotes” from the feline himself.

“I GET U BOI,” the bobcat “says” while snarling and swatting at Carver in the video. “I SAVAGE U,” he adds with a hiss.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the video had more than 700,000 views on Twitter.

Carver was first made aware of Mr. Murderbritches after a homeowner in Kanarraville spotted the feline in their chicken coop on Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving. The cat was in the coop but hadn’t killed any chickens at the time. He was let out by an Iron County sheriff’s deputy, Carver told Fox News on Tuesday.

A live trap was promptly set up just in case Mr. Murderbritches returned, and he did: The following day the cat was found in the trap. He was subsequently held for one night in captivity and was later released away from the property.

But the cunning feline somehow found his way back. This time, he successfully killed and ate a chicken from the coop.

Carver then took the cat to a mountainous area west of where he was first found. But little to Carver’s knowledge, this wouldn’t be his last encounter with the feline. Mr. Murderbritches then made his way to an isolated property miles away from where he was freed. There, he was found stuck in a dog kennel.

“He was probably looking for an easy meal and got scared [by the dog],” Carver theorized.

Carver captured the cat once more, feeding him a delicious meal of roadkill deer and a pheasant killed by an eagle before releasing the feline even farther away near Indian Peaks, an area Carver said provides “a lot of food resources.” The conservation officer hasn't seen him since.

Carver said bobcats typically leave their mother at about six months of age. While Mr. Murderbritches appears to be small, his willingness to hunt for food — even trekking for miles to do so — is a good sign for the juvenile.

“I do everything in my power to protect wildlife,” Carver said. “The best case here is to try to [help him] make it on his own. If he wasn’t doing well we wouldn’t have released him; we would have looked for a rehab center to take him to.”

And while the Mr. Murderbritches’ behavior may scare some, Carver found it amusing.

"I get a kick out of wildlife being wild."

— Joshua Carver

“I get a kick out of wildlife being wild,” Carver said, noting the cat was “too mean” for the conservation officer to tell if the animal was male or female at first.

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“Reaching out and getting [swatted] … he cracked me up,” Carver said, noting he never expected the video of the first release to go viral.

“I liked his attitude,” he added.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Utah couple narrowly escape gang of machete-wielding bandits in Kenya

Shocking footage shows a group of machete-wielding bandits chasing an American couple on a dusty road in Kenya.

Bryant Swenson and his wife Lauren, from Utah, were driving near Mai Mahiu on November 30 when three masked men attacked their car.

The couple, who moved to Nairobi with their three children to open a CrossFit gym, spotted a white van which the gangsters are believed to have been trying to rob.

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Bryant said in a Facebook post about the attempted robbery, that one of the men was carrying a gun but “couldn't get it out of his waistbelt in time”.

CALIFORNIA MAN STEPS IN FRONT OF MACHETE TO SAVE WOMAN AT STARBUCKS: REPORT

Bryant Swenson and his wife (pictured) Lauren , from Utah, were driving near Mai Mahiu on November 30 when three masked men attacked their car<br> (Lauren Swenson)

As the bandits rushed towards their Toyota Land Cruiser, Bryant had to reverse backwards to give himself time to roll up his window before moving past the dangerous criminals.

He then quickly shifted back into drive and sped past the three bandits who hurled their giant blades at the passing car.

This story originally appeared in The Sun. For more from The Sun, click here.

Attack in tire shop shows Utah’s hate crime law is ‘worthless,’ prosecutor says

An attack against a Latino man and his son prompted some Utah officials to deem a state hate crime statute ineffective because it can be applied only to misdemeanors.

“The statute that we have is such an untenable and unworkable statute that we have not had a successful prosecution of a hate crime for the last 20 years at the state level,” Sim Gill, district attorney for Salt Lake County, told the New York Times. “It is worthless. It is not worth the paper it is written on.”

On Nov. 27, Alan Covington walked into Lopez Tires in Salt Lake City and shouted: “I’m here to kill a Mexican” before attacking Jose Lopez and his teenage son Luis with a 3-foot metal pole, authorities said. The younger Lopez was sent to a hospital in critical condition with lacerations and face fractures.

His father bled from his face and was “gurgling and coughing on his own blood.” He was released from a hospital Friday.

Covington, 50, an African-American, said he targeted the shop because he believed it was part of a conspiracy against him by the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

FEDERAl HATE CRIME CHARGES FILED IN KENTUCKY KROGER SHOOTING

Prosecutors have charged him with three felonies in connection with the attack, two counts of second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. He also faces two misdemeanor drug crimes, according to charging documents. He could face more than 26 years in prison.

He was being held on $100,000 bond.

Gill said the hate crime statute in Utah can be applied only to misdemeanors, meaning an assault like the one that allegedly occurred to Lopez can’t be categorized as a hate crime, he said.

“You would think a hate crime is the most egregious kind of conduct and you would want to be able to apply it that way,” he said.

Attempts have been made to amend the law, most recently in 2016, which was inspired by an attack on a group of gay men in Salt Lake City. That failed effort was led by Stephen H. Urquhart, a Republican state senator, according to the Times.

Video

Urquhart attributed the opposition against the amendment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gill said opponents of expanded hate crime laws fear a new law could "create special rights for people" or give the government the power "to police somebody's thoughts," the paper reported.

“But that’s not what is happening when we have evidence,” he said. Pointing to a case like the attack on the Lopez family, when a suspect is alleged to have explicitly stated a bias during an attack, he added, “I don’t have to speculate about what is going through your mind and what message you are sending.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Utah prosecutors say they have name of cold case killer of 2

A Utah cold case involving the murders of two women on the same date two years apart is closer to being solved now that prosecutors know the name of the accused killer.

Police have known for a long time that Sonia Mejia, 29, and Damiana Castillo, 57, were raped and strangled in Salt Lake County by the same person, but the case went cold and the killer was never found, KTVX reports.

Now Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill says he knows the killer’s name, but he's not ready to release it at this time, according to the station.

“We have identified this person, but this person is not in our jurisdiction,” Gill told the station.

NEW ‘COLD VALLEY’ DOC EXPLORES UNSOLVED LEWIS CLARK MURDERS, DISAPPEARANCES: ‘YOU CAN ONLY HIDE FOR SO LONG’

Mejia was murdered on Feb. 9. 2006. Castillo was murdered on Feb. 9, 2008. The homicides were linked through DNA. Police said the person who killed the women was an intruder who forced his way into their apartments.

Gill said the wanted person is serving jail time outside Utah, the station reported Friday.

The suspect doesn’t know he has been fingered and Gill fears he could go on the lam if he finds out and is accidentally released from jail, according to the station.

In 2009 police said they did not have answers about motives for the killings or if the Feb. 9 date had any significance or was merely a coincidence, KSL-TV reported Friday.

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At that time, investigators said the suspect was a skinny, pint-sized young Hispanic male.

Mejia was six months pregnant when she was killed, according to the station.

Shocking video shows boy, 8, being bitten by shark

A dramatic video showed an 8-year-old Utah boy being bitten by a nurse shark while vacationing in the Bahamas.

Asher Jones of Sandy, Utah, was on an excursion on the island where they could swim with animals including sharks earlier this month, FOX 13 reported.

Jones’ mother, Christine, was filming the child’s experience with the sharks when screams are heard and a shark was seen latching on to the boy’s back.

“It was quite terrifying,” Christine Jones said. “My whole world kind of stopped.”

The boy described the bite like “an alien with a bunch of fingers,” saying it felt “super weird.”

WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN SLEEPING BAG, WRAPPED IN CARPET ALONG UTAH ROAD IDENTIFIED AFTER 20 YEARS

The boy’s father was nearby and able to grab the shark, which then released its grip on the boy before swimming away.

“I was able to grab onto the shark as it grabbed onto his back and my left-hand fingers went into his gills and my right hand touched on one of the fins, but as soon as I did that the shark let him go,” Jeremy Jones told FOX 13.

Emergency services were nearby to help the boy, who ended up not needing stitches for the bite.

The family said they have spoken to shark experts to understand what happened. The experts told the family that nurse sharks should be secluded from people when they’re fed, FOX 13 reported.

UTAH TEACHER ALLEGEDLY KILLS EX-HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND IN FRONT OF 3-YEAR-OLD KIDS

“There should probably be a little more information given as to shark interactions just to keep tourists safe, people's children safe,” Christine Jones said.

Asher Jones isn’t too upset by the incident and is considering swimming with sharks in the future.

“I think it was amazing and crazy. Like I think I will swim with sharks again. Oh my gosh, I’m so lucky that happened to me,” he said.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Utah teacher allegedly kills ex-husband’s girlfriend in front of 3-year-old kids

A Utah high school teacher was booked Monday for allegedly killing her ex-husband's girlfriend in front of her two 3-year-old children.

Chelsea Watrous Cook, 32, was visiting the apartment of her ex-husband, Travis Cook, in Midvale, to bring cold medicine to one of their children, Fox 13 reported.

Travis Cook's new girlfriend, 26-year-old Lisa Williams, was inside the apartment.

Cook was reportedly asked to leave, but locked herself inside the bathroom. Once she left the bathroom, Cook appeared to walk toward her coat but suddenly pulled out a handgun, according to the report. She allegedly shot three to five rounds at Williams.

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Travis Cook then reportedly grabbed the gun from his ex-wife and tended to Williams. When Cook tried moving back toward her coat, Travis Cook reportedly pinned her against the wall until authorities arrived on scene.

The ex-husband told police that he and Cook's twin children were present during the alleged attack.

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Alpine School District, where Cook was employed as a health and yoga teacher at Skyridge High School in Lehi, released a statement offering support "to any of you who may be in need."

"This type of news is hard to comprehend and we want you to know that teachers, counselors and your parents can help provide support in this difficult time," the statement read.

According to online records, Cook was booked for aggravated murder in the first degree at the Salt Lake County Jail. She's being held on $1 million bond.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

GOP Rep. Mia Love hits Trump in concession speech: He has ‘no real relationships’

Republican Utah Rep. Mia Love slammed President Trump during her concession speech Monday, saying he has “no real relationships, just convenient transactions.”

Love narrowly lost her re-election bid to Democrat Ben McAdams earlier this month – and Trump was quick to call her out for not embracing him more on the campaign trail. As she conceded, Love said she was initially surprised Trump “took a jab at me,” but she later wondered “what did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican?”

“This gave me a clear vision of his world as it is: no real relationships, just convenient transactions,” Love said. “That is an insufficient way to implement sincere service and policy.”

When it became apparent Love, 42, would not win re-election, Trump derided the Republican congresswoman for asking him for help earlier this year freeing Utah-native Joshua Holt, who was jailed in Venezuela, but in return “gave me no love.”

“Too bad, sorry about that, Mia,” Trump said of her loss.

MIA LOVE LOSES IN UTAH AFTER TRUMP MOCKED GOP REP FOR SHUNNING HIM

Love said Monday she was “proud” she “nagged the president every day” to secure the release of Holt.

She also chastised Washington lawmakers – especially Republicans – for not taking minorities into their “homes and hearts.”

“I’ve seen the cost to conservatives for not truly taking people into their hearts. Democrats saw newly elected black members and women to Congress in this election. This is a matter of fact that Republicans lost in this regard,” Love said.

A record number of women were elected to the House in this year's midterm elections, the majority Democrats.

Love also attacked the media and McAdams in her speech, calling the Democrat “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” When asked if she would consider running again in 2020, Love said she wasn’t sure.

“I’m not going away, but now I am unleashed, I am untethered and I am unshackled, and I can say exactly what’s on my mind,” Love said.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Utah police officer, Marine vet, dies after being struck by car; burglary suspect killed

A Utah police officer died Saturday evening after investigators said a driver intentionally struck him with his car while the officer was responding to a burglary call.

South Salt Lake Police Officer David Romrell, 31, had been rushed to a hospital in critical condition Saturday night, Chief Jack Carruth told reporters at a news conference Sunday. Romrell later died from his injuries.

OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2018

Before 10 p.m. Saturday, Romrell and another officer were responding to a burglary in progress. The officers encountered two suspects trying to speed off and ordered them to stop, investigators said.

The driver of that vehicle, according to Carruth, hit Romrell while trying to escape. Both officers apparently shot at the car, and the driver was killed. The passenger was tracked down and arrested.

“As much as we prepare, or we know the risk of this job, we’re not prepared for this — it’s taken us all by surprise," the chief said. "It’s been very very painful.”

From their initial investigation, Romrell "did everything right."

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted Sunday that Romrell "was exemplary in every way, and I feel humbled by the service he gave his country as a Marine, as well as the service he gave our communities here in Utah."

The officer was described as "very humble." Carruth said Romrell's service to the community as an officer was "very much his passion." He leaves behind a wife and a 4-month-old baby.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.