Vernal man accused of kicking 7-year-old son in the face

Vernal man accused of kicking 7-year-old son in the face

(Uintah County Jail)

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VERNAL — A Vernal man is accused of kicking his 7-year-old son in the face more than once, causing major bleeding under the boy's scalp.

Adam Joshua Smith, 32, was charged Thursday in 8th District Court with child abuse, a second-degree felony.

Smith's son was treated for a head injury on April 4 at Ashley Regional Medical Center. The boy's parents told doctors the child had fallen down five ceramic stairs at home, according to a probable cause statement filed by Uintah County sheriff's detective Dan Bruso.

The boy was treated and released from the hospital. The state Division of Child and Family Services was already working with the family and noticed more serious bruising during an April 9 visit, investigators said.

The child was taken to Ashley Regional again. A CAT scan showed a large amount of blood under the boy's scalp, Bruso wrote. A forensic nurse who examined the boy said the injury can cause a substantial risk of death for a child and was "difficult to explain by a fall down five stairs," the detective wrote.

The child also had "a very large number of bruises" on other parts of his body that led the nurse to determine he was the victim of physical abuse, according to the probable cause statement.

On Tuesday, investigators interviewed the boy at the Children's Justice Center in Vernal. The boy told investigators that his father kicked him in the face, causing his head to hit a gun safe, Bruso wrote.

"His father did this several times," the detective wrote. "(The boy) stated that his father hit him with a belt at the same time."

A search warrant was executed at Smith's house Wednesday, and detectives said they recovered items that corroborate the boy's account of the alleged abuse. Smith was arrested and booked into the Uintah County Jail. Court records did not list an attorney for Smith.


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