WEST POINT, Davis County — A woman was charged with child abuse last week after police found one of her children “trapped” in a basement room with no access to food, water or a bathroom, according to court documents.
Jennifer Christin Worzalla, 32, of West Point, was charged in 2nd District Court with one second-degree felony count of child abuse last Wednesday. She was also charged with two counts of class A misdemeanor child abuse in relation to the case. Court records show Worzalla made her initial appearance in 2nd District Court on Friday.
Worzalla was arrested on Aug. 15 after police were alerted by a neighbor regarding possible child abuse. According to charging documents, the neighbor called police when her child received a note from a 10-year-old girl who wrote that she was struck by a cord “which had left marks and ‘has blood.’”
“The note asked the reader for help and indicated that the child was scared,” the document stated.
A police affidavit filed in 2nd District Court after Worzalla was arrested stated the girl was Worzalla’s daughter. The affidavit stated Worzalla wasn’t home at the time Davis County sheriff’s deputies responded to the home and that she was taken into custody when she returned.
When authorities responded to the West Point home on Aug. 15, they made contact with the girl through the screen of a basement window in the home. She told officers she was “trapped in the room with no food or water or access to a bathroom,” according to the charging document.
Authorities then entered the home where they found the door to the room tied shut with a rope and bungee cord. The girl was removed from the home and interviewed at the Children’s Justice Center, where she told agents that Worzalla “smacked” her with a phone charging cord and then locked in her bedroom, the charging document stated.
The document continued: “(Worzalla) also hit (the child) with her hand and was suffocating her with the mattress. She also said (Worzalla) was poking her with a knife, but that she was able to dodge it.”
The girl also told agents she saw Worzalla kick and bite her 22-month-old sister and that she also saw Worzalla “throw” her 7-year-old brother, as well as “‘smack’ him on his face and butt, and has seen (Worzalla) pull his ear,” according to the document. The 7-year-old boy told agents that Worzalla “hits and kicks him all over his body except for his face,” the charging document added.
The document also stated the girl had “several” marks on her right leg consistent with being hit with a cord, as well as a bruise on her left leg. It added the boy had a “linear scrape” on his chest and the toddler had a “small oval bruise” on her upper left thigh that was “in an area where bruising is not commonly seen on an active toddler.”
Court records show Worzalla has no previous criminal history in Utah. However, the police affidavit filed on Aug. 15 stated there was “prior history with child protective services” at the home authorities were dispatched to.
Worzalla remained in Davis County Jail without bail after her initial appearance Friday, records show. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.