Society

Utah Couple Suspected Of Abuse In Death Of 2-Year-Old Boy

| by Jared Keever
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Utah authorities are expected to upgrade child abuse charges to homicide charges for a Layton couple after a 2-year-old boy died of, what police say, are injuries consistent with physical abuse. 

KSTU News reports 23-year-old Jasmine Bridgeman and her boyfriend Joshua Schoenenberger, 34, brought Bridgeman’s 2-year-old son, James Sieger Jr., to Davis Hospital over the weekend. 

The child, who was nicknamed J.J., was reported to have had difficulty breathing and showed signs of recent traumatic injuries. He was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital and underwent surgery for internal injuries.

The child was placed on life support following his surgery, and listed in extremely critical condition. 

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According to a Monday story from The Salt Lake Tribune, the child died of his injuries in the early hours of Monday morning. 

Bridgeman and Schoenenberger had been arrested Saturday and booked into the Davis County jail on felony and misdemeanor child-abuse charges.

Layton police Lt. Travis Lyman told the paper that authorities were “in the process of amending those charges now that the child has passed away.”

A copy of the police report for the case, obtained by KSL News, details the abuse police believe the child underwent before being brought to the hospital.

According to the report, J.J. was brought to the hospital “unresponsive and not breathing” and “had a large amount of bruising on his body.” 

Police wrote in their report they believe Schoenenberger got violent with the toddler during a potty training session. According to information in the report, they believe Schoenenberger smeared feces on the child’s face then attempted to clean him off in a bath tub.

The report indicates that the boy likely defecated and urinated in the tub and police believe Schoenenberger grew frustrated and reacted by squeezing the child tightly around the abdomen then dropped the boy “outside of the tub, onto the tile floor, from eye level.” The report alleges Schoenenberger then stepped on the boy’s stomach. 

J.J.’s father, James Sieger, who lives in Georgia, flew to Utah to be by his son’s side before he died. While reading a prepared statement, he said Monday was the "worst and most difficult day of my life.”

Sieger and Bridgeman, who are still legally married, also have a 5-month-old daughter, who lived with Bridgeman. That child has been taken into state custody and the Division of Child and Family Services has opened an investigation to determine if she suffered any abuse. 

Sieger told KCL that he was told by DCFS that preliminary findings indicated she had not been abused and he is working to regain custody of his daughter. 

Sources: KSTU News, The Salt Lake Tribune, KSL News / Photo Credit: Family photo via KSTU News, The Salt Lake Tribune courtesy of Davis County Sheriff’s Office