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Vernal Man Arrested For Child Abuse And Aggravated Assault

Posted by Travis Uresk | Oct. 2nd, 2022 | Domestic Violence |

By Travis Uresk


Vernal, Ut.- On September 18, 2022, Det. Collom was notified of a 13-year-old juvenile being abused at home by Jeremiah Solomon Espinoza.

The 13-year-old said, "her dad would grab her by the throat and threatened to slice and dice her sister, and her brother would get beaten regularly."

At the CJC, the victim was interviewed and told Detectives she was accused of listening to the adult's conversations by Jeremiah. The 13-year-old said, "Jeremiah reached up and put one hand around her throat so tight she had to hold her breath and couldn't breathe". The victim said he would do it so hard that she couldn't talk or swallow when he did this. The little girl didn't know if Jeremiah would punch her or what would happen next. According to the affidavit.

The victim made it clear this happened on more than one occasion, and Jeremiah also would push her to the floor with a lot of force.

The victim told Detectives that they had to keep what Jeremiah does a secret because the adults didn't want the Police or any officials involved.

Later, the Detectives spoke to the victim's Mother, and she too was afraid of what Jeremiah might do to them if they told Law Enforcement.

The victim's Mother said she had seen Jeremiah grab her daughter with both hands around her neck, then look at her in a way that was asking her Mother for help.

The Mother was put in contact with the Victim's Advocate and Safety plan, and a protective order was filed and granted against Jeremiah Espinoza.

Jeremiah was arrested and interviewed after being informed of his rights per Miranda. Jeremiah denied using any physical abuse towards the victim or the other kids. He did confirm having taught the kids and both their Mothers about grabbing someone by the throat.

This move was called the "Ranger choke hold." Jeremiah stated this was a finishing move and likened it to the use of deadly force. Jeremiah maintained he was a pacifist and would not physically abuse anybody.

Jeremiah's statement changed several times throughout the interview. Jeremiah blamed the other two kids' Mothers for physically abusing them. Jeremiah admitted the kids were out of control but claimed he ignored it and walk away when they were acting that way.

Other detectives met with the Mother of the other children and recovered evidence from her apartment that corroborated her kids' statements. This included blood stains on the wall, and a broken wooden paddle used to spank the kids. The corroborations of these kids' accounts added further credibility to the reports. According to the affidavit.

Jeremiah was then taken to the Uintah County Jail. He was booked on one count of Aggravated Child Abuse as a Second Degree Felony. This is due to Jeremiah grabbing the victim by the throat with such force that it impeded her breathing ability.

This act constitutes an act of severe physical injury.

Due to Jeremiah having a name for this move and knowing it is equivalent to lethal force and using it often, he did this act intentionally and knowingly.

On September 20, 2022, the affiant Detective Sergeant Mike Tribe interviewed the Mother about an ongoing child abuse investigation involving her children and her live-in boyfriend, Jeremiah Espinoza.

During this interview, the Mother told the affiant about Jeremiah being served with a protective order on September 19, 2022, related to an ongoing child abuse investigation.

The Mother stated Jeremiah was distraught after being served and described being grabbed by the front of the throat by Jeremiah using his thumb and the first two fingers of his right hand. Josephine told the affiant she couldn't breathe and described Jeremiah grabbing and holding her throat for a few seconds before letting go.

The Mother told the affiant after this, Jeremiah jammed his finger into the side of her neck just under her jaw, leaving a mark. The affiant observed a two-inch abrasion under the Mother's left jawline.

The Mother indicated the abrasion is from Jeremiah jamming his finger into her neck. The Mother stated this was very painful and called the neck grab a "Ranger choke hold," which was reportedly a move learned by Jeremiah during his military service.

The Mother told the Detective she'd known Jeremiah for approximately five years. During this time, they engaged in a consensual relationship.

On September 20, 2022, Jeremiah Espinoza was contacted and arrested for other Vernal Police investigations (Child Abuse) related explicitly to Jeremiah's "Ranger choke hold."

During a post-Miranda warning interview, Jeremiah admitted to putting his hand around his girlfriend's neck during sexual intercourse, not during a domestic dispute. Jeremiah admitted to knowledge of the "Ranger choke hold," referring to this as a lethal tactic.

However, Jeremiah denied doing the hold on his girlfriend and denied jamming his finger into her jaw area. Jeremiah also denied being upset over being served with a protective order. According to the affidavit.

Based on the physical evidence observed on his girlfriend's neck, the affiant believes there is probable cause that Jeremiah committed the crime(s) of aggravated assault (DV) 76-5-103 (F3) (iii) any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood of another individual by the actor's use of unlawful force or violence that is likely to produce a loss of consciousness by:

(A) applying pressure to the neck or throat of an individual.

(B) obstructing the nose, mouth, or airway of an individual.


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