The parents of a Utah infant who was yanked back and forth between the pair in a graphic tug of war battle that was captured on video, have both lost custody of the baby boy — and their freedom, to boot.
FOX 13 explains that battling lovers Britnie Hass and Elijah Holt were arrested on Friday in connection with the troubling incident, which reportedly took place in the parking lot of the La Quinta in Orem on April 30, and involved the couple’s child, an 11-month-old baby boy.
In the visual, which has since gone viral, Holt is first seen angrily conversing with Hass as he holds their child in his arms while Melina Ylinen, Elijah’s aunt, tries her best to get the child indoors and out of harm’s way.
“I was saying to him, ‘Let me take the baby inside,” Melina recalled to FOX 13, “[and] that’s when she grabs the baby out of his arms so violently.”
As seen in the video, the “she” in question, Britnie Haas, then forcibly snatches the young child out of his father’s arms, just as Ylinen makes her move to calmly do the same for the sake of protecting her nephew.
“[She pulled] the baby really low [toward] her hip and he was bowing backwards,” Melina mentioned emotionally, “and I was afraid his back was going to snap.”
As Elijah and the toddler’s aunt tried their best to calm Britnie down, the manic mother suddenly began swinging her free fist at both Ylinen and Hass, causing all three individuals to crowd around the innocent child for a time.
“She has the baby in one arm and she starts punching my nephew,” Ylinen went on to detail about the tug of war brawl, “and at that point, the baby is falling out of her arms.”
Later in the clip, as the Daily Mail adds, “Holt [manages] to grab the boy [back from his mother],” when a “hysterical Hass” suddenly snatches him back into a tug-of-war stance with the baby’s father.
“She [had the baby] in a headlock,” Holt’s aunt continued, “and [it] was the only thing keeping him from falling on the ground.”
Although cops were called to the scene shortly after the couple’s fight, the Daily Mail notes that neither Holt, nor Hass were arrested that evening due to lack of evidence.
Subsequently, Holt and Hass appeared to make up sometime after the tug of war altercation and prior to leaving their baby in the care of another relative, attempted to flee the state, but failed and were ultimately taken into custody by police sometime on Friday.
Holt, the child’s mother, has since been charged with child abuse, domestic violence in the presence of a child, and assault, while the boy’s father, Hass, was picked up on a past warrant for an non-publicized crime.
Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez told ABC4 in Utah that the “tug-of-war baby video” will make it easy for them to ensure that the parents are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“We are going to use [it] as evidence in our case as to why we filed the appropriate charges,” he remarked.
He also went to defend his reasoning for not arresting the duo before they went on the run.
“It’s not uncommon for us to be at an incident where a crime has been committed that we don’t make an arrest at that time,” Lt. Martinez proclaimed.
“We felt at that time we first needed to go over the case with the City Attorney and DCFS to see if we had enough to file charges.”
For her heroic efforts, Ylinen says that she’s received about “seven or eight” hits to her body from both her nephew and his partner, but says she’s just glad that her grand nephew is in good hands now.
“I [wanted him] to be safe,” the defender of the “tug of war baby” says, “and I think that’s the direction we’re finally going in [now].”
[Featured Image by Orem Police Dept.]