LaShauna Eskeets is the Idaho woman accused of torturing her young stepson by waterboarding the child and hitting him over the head. Eskeets was arrested on May 29 after the child’s father took him to the Idaho Falls Community Hospital.
The boy’s father told the police he was not aware of the abuse, which Eskeets admitted had been going on for more than a year, according to an affidavit obtained by the Post Register. Heavy has reached out to the Idaho Falls Police Department for a copy of the criminal complaint.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eskeets Was Charged With Seven Felonies & Ordered to Stay Away From the Child
Records from the Bonneville County Magistrate Court show Eskeets was arrested on May 29 and bond was set at $500,000. Eskeets was still listed as an inmate at the Bonneville County Jail as of this writing on June 9. Her next court hearing was scheduled for June 12.
Eskeets was charged with seven felonies. Six of the charges were for felony injury to a child, which is described in the state’s legal code:
18-1501. INJURY TO CHILDREN. (1) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of such child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits such child to be placed in such situation that its person or health is endangered, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or in the state prison for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years.
Eskeets was also charged with one count of aggravated battery. The charges relate to incidents dating back to January 1, 2019, court records show. If convicted on all of the charges, she could face up to 75 years behind bars.
The judge ordered Eskeets to stay away from the child. The current no-contact order will remain in place until June 1, 2023.
The court records also list Eskeets’ birth year as 1998, which would make her about 22 years old. Local outlets in Idaho have published Eskeets’ age as 28.
2. Eskeets Told Police She Used to Lock the Boy In His Room When The Family Lived In Arizona
But Eskeets admitted to Idaho Falls police that she began hitting her stepson when the family lived in Arizona, the Idaho Press reported. The newspaper, citing the criminal affidavit, reported that Eskeets told detectives she frequently locked the boy in his room.
She also confessed that she would hit the boy when she felt he was not learning numbers and shapes fast enough. Eskeets said other family members briefly kept her away from the child after she gave him a bloody nose but that after apologizing, she continued stroking him in the head. She also admitted to putting her hand over the boy’s mouth as punishment. An Idaho Falls detective noted in the criminal complaint that Eskeets “actually hates” the child.
3. Eskeets Admitted to Waterboarding the Child at Least 30 Times & Said She Would Strangle Him Until He Passed Out, Police Said
The abuse escalated after the family moved to Idaho Falls. Eskeets told police there was no one around to stop her after they left Arizona.
Eskeets admitted to frequently strangling the child until he became unconscious when she became frustrated with him. This happened between 50 and 70 times, the East Idaho News reported.
According to the affidavit, the child told investigators Eskeets would bind his arms and legs and hold him under the sink. Police said the water torture occurred at least 30 times.
Eskeets also told police she took steps to hide evidence of the abuse from the child’s father. The East Idaho News reported Eskeets found solutions to cover up bruises.
4. The 5-Year-Old Boy Weighed Just 35 Pounds & His Injuries Included Evidence of Broken Ribs & Swelling On His Head
Eskeets’ 5-year-old stepson weighed just 35 pounds when his father brought him to the hospital on May 26 and doctors considered him to be malnourished. The Post Register reported the child’s injuries included head and eye swelling and a hematoma. Doctors also found evidence that a bone between his elbow and shoulder had been broken and never set. The boy had also suffered broken ribs. Officials alerted police.
Eskeets admitted to police she had broken his arm a few weeks prior to her arrest. She also said that on the child’s birthday on May 17, she punished him for eating cake that she had baked for herself.
The boy told investigators that he would beg Eskeets not to hurt him. Officials noted in the affidavit that the child attempted to avoid being placed underwater by telling Eskeets he loved her.
5. The Boy & a Younger Sibling Have Both Been Placed In Foster Care
The boy’s father told the police he was not aware of the abuse because he was often away from home for weeks at a time for work. The Post Register, citing the affidavit, reported the child’s father became visibly emotional after hearing how his son had described the torture.
The boy was transferred to a children’s hospital in Salt Lake City for further evaluation. He and his younger sibling have both been removed from the home and placed in foster care. It was not immediately clear whether the second child was Eskeets’ biological child or stepchild.