Drunk Utah woman attacks husband, sons because she was furious over school closure due to coronavirus outbreak

Jessica Cambray, 36, has been charged with two counts of child abuse, intoxication and domestic violence in the presence of a child


                            Drunk Utah woman attacks husband, sons because she was furious over school closure due to coronavirus outbreak
(Utah County Jail)

PROVO, UTAH: A Utah woman has been arrested and charged after she attacked her husband and children because she was angry over the closure of the latter's schools because of the coronavirus pandemic, police have said.

Provo police were called to the residence of Jessica Cambray, 36, at around midnight on March 18, over reports of domestic violence, according to Deseret News.

Cambray, who lives with her common-law husband and three sons, aged 12, 12, and 9, was reportedly intoxicated and got into a confrontation with her family about the children being at home because of the novel coronavirus.

"She was upset about her children’s school circumstances in regards to the coronavirus," an arrest affidavit filed in connection to the case states. "The father and three children were spending time together in the boys’ bedroom. Jessica came into the room after on-and-off verbal arguments and began pushing her husband."

When questioned about the attack, Cambray claimed that she had only slapped her husband in the throat with an open hand. However, that was refuted by the children, who told officers she was "choking" him.

The affidavit states that she also attacked her children, kicking one of her sons and twisting the arm of another who tried to intervene and help his father.

The 36-year-old was arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse, intoxication and domestic violence in the presence of a child. Police records showed that she had been convicted of domestic violence on two previous occasions as well, in 2007 and 2011.

Most public schools in Utah were closed on March 23 as the US tried to enforce stricter measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 35,000 people across the country. The virus has reached all 50 states with Utah reporting 181 cases at the time of writing.  

Domestic abuse activists have warned that there will be an increase in cases during the coronavirus outbreak because of more people spending time at home in self-quarantine with their kids. Domestic abuse is said to have tripled in China over the past few months and experts have warned friends and family to be on alert for signs of coercive controlling behavior during the pandemic.

"We want a national campaign providing information for victims of abuse," said Hayley Foster, chief executive of a branch of Women's Safety in Australia of the crisis. "Everyone has the right to safety in their own home and there are services to support you."

Foster and others like her will be asking leaders to fund emergency accommodation for women fleeing abuse, to provide resources for the increased burden on specialist support services, and to enable victims to be able to stay in their own homes. 

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.

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