Utah mother sentenced for fatally abusing son because he was difficult to potty train

A 35-year-old mother will spend five years to life in prison in connection with the abuse, torture, and death of her 6-year-old son.


The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday, May 15, that a Third District Court judge sentenced Reyna Flores-Rosales to five years to life in state prison for first-degree felony reckless child abuse homicide, one to 15 years each for two counts of second-degree felony intentional child abuse, and zero to five years for third-degree felony reckless aggravated child abuse.


According to KSL-TV, on Feb. 25, 2019, first responders were dispatched to Flores-Rosales’ home on Manzano Drive after she found her son unresponsive on the shower floor. Charging documents cited by KSL said paramedics found “multiple injuries and scars” on the child’s body “in varying stages of healing.”


The child was reportedly transported to two different hospitals, and medical staff located a large burn that went from his lower back to his buttocks.


According to charging documents obtained by KSL, the boy had “several old scars, numerous additional burns on the extremities, bruises and swelling on the forehead and head, linear scars in a horizontal pattern on his neck, open sores and bleeding from (the boy’s) nostrils, and scars and open sores on his hands and feet.”


The 6-year-old victim reportedly sustained severe head trauma and was declared brain dead two days later. An autopsy report concluded he died due to blunt force trauma.


According to KSL, prosecutors said the boy, Norlin Cruz, was repeatedly tortured, and Flores-Rosales told people about potty training issues she was having with her son.


During the trial, prosecutors said there was video evidence of Flores-Rosales yelling at her son and calling him names.


In total, there were reportedly 99 injuries all over Cruz’s body, which included the large burn, broken bones, possible strangulation marks, abrasions, and head trauma, and he was in a state of starvation when he died.


Prosecutors reportedly believe Cruz suffered intentional abuse for years even though the charges stem from months of torture at the hands of Flores-Rosales.


In court, Flores-Rosales reportedly said, “I just want to … tell all of you today that the day he died, I died too. That boy was my best friend, my partner. I called him my king, my prince. He was everything to me … and I fought for him all the time, since he was in my belly.”


Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a statement, “Children are vulnerable and rely upon the adults around them for safety and protection. This defendant abused her child with intentional, heinous, and repeated violence.”


Gill continued, “The level of callous, humiliating, and gratuitous violence inflicted here demanded the most severe punishment. No one who was a part of this prosecution was left unmoved by what was revealed through the investigation and prosecution.”


Gill added, “Norlin was a child that only had his foster family left to mourn him when he died from the wounds inflicted by his own mother. Our condolences go out to those who loved this young child. This is one of the worst cases of child abuse that I have seen in nearly 28 years as a prosecutor.”

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