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Mother sentenced to jail after beating children, shaving daughters’ heads for eating tub of ice cream

Crime Watch

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Priscilla M. Zapata | Canyon County Sheriff’s Office

CALDWELL — A Nampa mother who beat her children and shaved the heads of her daughters after they ate ice cream will serve four years on felony probation and 30 days in jail.

Priscilla M. Zapata, 26, was sentenced Monday for felony injury to a child, according to a news release from the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office.

Zapata was arrested in October after Canyon County Sheriff investigators discovered she had physically and emotionally abused her children after getting angry with them for eating a tub of ice cream.

According to detectives, the four children, ranging in ages from 3 to 9, were beaten several times with a wet belt and the youngest child was hit with a toy during the August incident. The news release states Zapata also shaved the heads of her two daughters, who were 4 and 9 at the time.

A medical examination showed each child had serious bruising consistent with being repeatedly and intentionally struck with a hand or object.

“It’s fairly obvious that Ms. Zapata has some severe anger issues that she needs to address, and to her credit, she has been working on it through counseling and parenting classes,” Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said in the news release. “I’m hopeful that she can take advantage of the resources available to her while on probation and make the appropriate changes in her life to become a better parent.

Judge George A. Southworth sentenced Zapata to 2 years fixed, followed by 3 years indeterminate, for a total unified sentence of 5 years in prison. Southworth then suspended the prison sentence in lieu of the felony probation and 30 days in county jail.

“You have engaged yourself in appropriate treatment, your CPA case, and are involved in counseling, so it appears you are engaging in a process on how to better handle your children,” Southworth said during sentencing. “You’ve caused a lot of damage to your children and it’s going to take you a long time, if ever, before you can rebuild that trust.”

The children are currently being cared for by family members under the supervision of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.