Burrillville police arrest woman accused of second-degree child abuse


WOONSOCKET – A Burrillville woman is facing criminal charges after police say she brutally punished her 5-year-old daughter for eating ham without permission on Easter Sunday.

Catalyna E. Smith, 29, of 2076 Wallum Lake Road, is charged with second-degree child abuse, a felony. She was picked up by Burrillville authorities on a Woonsocket Police Department warrant on Monday, April 8. 

Police reports say Smith allegedly abused her daughter at an apartment she had been sharing at 93 Bourdon Boulevard with a female friend in the city. A 29-year-old woman, the friend told police she met Smith at a homeless shelter in 2020 and, after Smith returned to the area from South Carolina in mid-February, she allowed her to move in with her. 

On the very day after Smith moved in, the woman became concerned about the mother’s treatment of her daughter and began documenting it – some on video, which she provided to the police.

On Easter Sunday, the woman told police Smith and her daughter had an argument because the girl did not want to participate in making Easter baskets.

Smith punished the girl by prohibiting her from eating, according to police reports. Then, when Smith found out her daughter had eaten a piece of ham, she allegedly grabbed the girl by the hair, dragged her across the living room floor and threw her down, causing her face to strike a baseboard heating fixture.

Det. Jamie Martin of the Woonsocket Police Department’s Juvenile Bureau viewed a video of the incident. According to his investigative summary, the video “clearly shows (Smith) dragging (her daughter) across the floor by her right arm, which is pulled high over her head and behind her back. As (Smith) drags (the girl) into the living room, she flings her forward toward the baseboard heater, causing her face to strike the heater and her right shin to strike a nearby table.”

Before the physical contact began, the woman who captured the video told police, the girl had been choking on the ham. At that point, Smith allegedly blurted out, “Good I hope you choke and die,” a police report quotes the witness as saying.

Smith made an initial appearance in Sixth District Court on Tuesday, April 9 to answer the charge and was later released on $10,000 personal recognizance, according to the judiciary’s web site. She is due back in court for another hearing on July 1.

The web site says Associate District Court Judge Stephen Isherwood ordered Smith to have no contact with the child in the meantime.

The address Smith provided to the police is located on the state-owned Zambarano campus, where emergency shelters were opened last year for homeless individuals.

Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo

Editor’s note: The last sentence of the above article was edited to clarify where Smith resided.

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  1. Wait until the cons at the ACI get hold of this “mother”- bleeper. The shoe will certainly be on the other foot when she gets her butt beat on a regular basis.

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