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Woman sent to prison for the horrific water torture and abuse of young boy

Crime Watch

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains descriptions of child abuse that is disturbing.

IDAHO FALLS — A judge sentenced an Idaho Falls woman Monday for the horrific abuse and torture of a 5-year-old boy.

Lashauna Eskeets, 28, will spend between eight and 15 years in prison. District Judge Joel E. Tingy handed down the sentence after Eskteets pleaded guilty to two felony counts of injury to a child and aggravated battery. As part of a plea agreement, four additional counts of injury to a child were dismissed.

The Idaho Falls Police Department was alerted of the abuse when the boy was admitted to Idaho Falls Community Hospital on May 26, 2020, with severe injuries. Eskeets said the child had fallen and hurt himself, but investigators say his injuries were not consistent with her report.

The boy suffered swelling around his head and eyes, old fractures of the ribs and a fractured right arm that had not been set properly, according to court documents. He only weighed 35 pounds and was considered malnourished. Police also noticed several bruises and abrasions on his ankles.

When asked about being abused, the boy reportedly acted hesitant to explain what happened. He ultimately explained that he was “spanked” by Eskeets, which were actually slaps to the head after he ate cake when he wasn’t supposed to.

The child described multiple incidents to detectives of Eskeets trying to place him under water in a sink for extended periods of time. The boy said when he struggled to avoid going under the water, Eskeets would tie up his hands and feet. She would then hold him under the water until he passed out, according to court documents.

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When investigators spoke with Eskeets, she admitted the abuse escalated over time as she became frustrated with the child. Eskeets said she would strangle the boy until he became limp and reportedly thought this to be the worst thing she did until she discovered the water torture.

She described that when the boy would not do what she wanted, she would try to put him under water. When he would struggle, she grabbed strips of cloth to bound his arms and legs to keep him from kicking.

She also described incidents where she kicked and hit the boy and she searched the internet for remedies to hide bruises.

“I asked what she was thinking during these incidents of abuse and Lashauna was thinking how much she hated him,” a detective wrote in his report. “Lashauna’s intent was for him to listen to her.”

According to the affidavit of probable cause, after speaking with Eskeets, they estimated the boy was strangled between 50 and 70 times and endured the water torture around 30 times. The alleged abuse began out of state but continued in Idaho from January 2019 and into May 2020.

In addition to the time in prison, court records show Tingey ordered Eskeets to pay $3136.50 in fees and fines. Estkeets will serve her sentence in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction.