Foster parent charged with aggravated murder of 2-year-old boy in Duchesne County

Lisa Jo Vanderlinden, a trained nurse and foster parent in Duchesne County was charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy in August. (Photo from Duchesne County Sheriff's Office)

(KUTV) — A trained nurse and foster parent in Duchesne County was charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy in August.

The boy died from injuries "consistent with child physical abuse," that were "caused by inflicted blunt force trauma," court documents state. A doctor told investigators injuries found on the boy were "directly connected to his death."

Police in Duchesne County arrested Lisa Jo Vanderlinden for aggravated murder on Wednesday.

They say Vanderlinden is responsible for the death of the child, identified in court documents as "L.C."

L.C. and his one-year-old sister were being fostered by Vanderlinden and her husband at the time of the boy's death.

Vanderlinden was a foster mother to multiple children and the natural mother to others who lived with her and her husband. She and her husband had also adopted some foster children, Vanderlinden's indictment states.

She is also a Licensed Practical Nurse who provided services at the Children's Justice Center, which helps conduct child abuse investigations.

L.C. died on August 5, when deputies from the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office were called to Vanderlinden's home to investigate. The child was found deceased, with multiple bruises on his face, court documents state. Medical examiners who looked at L.C.'s body found bruises and abrasions on his scalp, arms, face, head, abdomen, back and legs, as well as "significant internal injuries that resulted in his death."

The night before the child was found dead, Vanderlinden told investigators she'd had problems with his behavior during dinner, and grew "mad and frustrated" with the boy. The child also reportedly vomited multiple times that evening, so Vanderlinden had to bathe and change him multiple times.

While Vanderlinden was in the bathroom with L.C., a family member told investigators they heard a "loud bang," after which the child wasn't acting normal and would not walk.

He was found dead the next morning.

After serving a warrant, investigators found Vanderlinden had made web searches related to the type of child injuries L.C. was found with the night before his death was reported.

"Despite her training as a foster parent and nurse, the defendant was completely indifferent to L.C.'s well-being and did not seek medical attention for the boy," Vanderlinden's indictment reads.

All children were removed from Vanderlinden's home by the Division of Children and Family Services after L.C. died. Investigators also noted multiple "unsupported/unsubstantiated" allegations of abuse or neglect made to DCFS against Vanderlinden, "specifically for hitting or punching a minor child."

Vanderlinden was booked into the Duchesne County Jail on Wednesday.

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