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The ice cream was gone — so mom beat her kids and shaved their heads, Idaho cops say

Priscilla M. Zapata, whom Idaho police say beat her children with a belt and shaved two of her daughters' hair after they ate a tub of ice cream, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. Her kids were aged 3 to 9.
Priscilla M. Zapata, whom Idaho police say beat her children with a belt and shaved two of her daughters' hair after they ate a tub of ice cream, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. Her kids were aged 3 to 9. Idaho Police

Priscilla Zapata wasn't happy that her four children went through her tub of ice cream, Idaho police say.

So the 26-year-old mother of four beat her children — aged 3 to 9 — with a wet belt and a toy in July, police alleged to The Idaho Press. She is also accused of shaving her 4-year-old and 9-year-old daughters' hair to send a message.

That's why police, who say that Zapata both physically and emotionally abused her children, charged the mother with felony injury to a child. According to East Idaho News, the woman was found guilty of that charge and sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. She also has four years of felony probation.

“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 told East Idaho News in a statement. “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.

Zapata told relatives that she "lost it" when the children ate the ice cream, police said to KTVB.

After the arrest, police say that one of Zapata's daughters told them that her mother pushed her against a wall while grabbing her tightly around the throat. Bruising found on the children during a medical examination indicated that they had been repeatedly struck with an object, according to KOMO.

Those children, now under the watch of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, are with family members.

Zapata could have ended up in jail and with a harsher sentence for what she allegedly did to her four children. According to KOMO, the judge in the case initially gave the 26-year-old a maximum of five years in prison — but reduced the sentence and gave probation.

In court, Judge George A. Southworth explained to Zapata why he was suspending her prison sentence.

“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, according to East Idaho News. "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.”



Child abuse is something that unfortunately pediatricians and emergency room physicians are always on the lookout for, but parents need to know the warning signs of physical abuse too, especially when their children are left in the care of others.

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