Smithfield woman arrested for allegedly choking and beating two children

Booking photo for Melinda R. Stash (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 46-year-old Smithfield woman is being held without bail, accused of beating and choking a child.  Melinda R. Stash was arrested September 4 and booked into the Cache County Jail.

According to a Smithfield City police statement, officers received a report of the alleged physical abuse from the Division of Child and Family Services.  They later interviewed the child, who disclosed that Stash had “whacked” them with a belt before school that morning.  They also described how she grabbed them by the neck, and “jabbed” her thumbs into their jaw to the point they could not breathe.

The victim showed investigators wounds and marks on their body, consistent with the abuse claims.

Officers interviewed a second child, who corroborated the victim’s story.  They explained how Stash grabbed the first child by the neck.  They also disclosed being spanked with a belt and unknown object.

The report stated that both children were checked by medical staff.  The examination resulted in the discovery of substantial wounds and abrasions on both children, all over their bodies.

Officers served a search warrant to Stash’s home, seizing a belt that matched the children’s descriptions.  They also interviewed the suspect, who denied any abuse.

Stash was arraigned in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by video from jail.  She was charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Griffin Hazard asked the court to keep Stash behind bars.  He said the suspect posed a threat to the victims if she was released.

Judge Kevin Allen agreed to hold Stash without bail for the time.  He ordered her to appear again in court next week.

Stash does not appear to have any previous criminal history.  She could face up to 15-years in prison, if convicted.


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