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Neola, Utah mom will serve no prison time for actions that contributed to violent death of boy

A NEOLA, UTAH MOM ACCUSED OF MURDERING HER 2 YEAR OLD FOSTER SON WILL SERVE NO PRISON TIME. 43 YEAR OLD LISA JO VANDERLINDEN WAS SENTENCED IN DUCHESNE, UTAH'S 8TH DISTRICT COURT TODAY TO ONE YEAR IN COUNTY JAIL, 168 MONTHS PROBATION AND A $10K FINE.


VANDERLINDEN, A NURSE AND MOTHER OF 6, PLEADED GUILTY TO 1ST DEGREE FELONY CHILD ABUSE HOMICIDE IN MARCH 2020, INSTEAD OF STANDING TRIAL FOR AGGRAVATED MURDER IN THE BRUTAL BEATING DEATH OF 2 YEAR OLD LUCAS CALL. THE PLEA DEAL ALLOWED VANDERLINDEN TO TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR INFLICTING THE INJURIES ON THE BOY IN AUGUST OF 2018...INSTEAD SHE PLEADED GUILTY TO "RECKLESS BEHAVIOR" FOR NOT SEEKING MEDICAL CARE FOR THE CHILD. CALL WAS FOUND DEAD IN HIS CRIB THE MORNING AFTER THE ALLEGED BEATING. ACCORDING TO EVIDENCE BROUGHT ABOUT IN THE PRELIMINARY TRIAL, VANDERLINDEN HAD CONDUCTED INTERNET SEARCHES FOR INTERNAL BLEEDING AND OTHER FORMS OF TRAUMA THE BOY HAD SUFFERED AFTER THE SUPPOSED BEATING.


CALL'S DEATH HAS BEEN RULED A HOMICIDE. THE UTAH MEDICAL EXAMINER’S OFFICE DETERMINED THAT CALL HAD SUSTAINED MASSIVE AND MULTIPLE INTERNAL INJURIES AND WAS BRUISED ALL OVER MUCH OF HIS BODY, INCLUDING SOME OLDER INJURIES SUCH AS A LACERATED LIVER, BUT ULTIMATELY DIED FROM A BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA. 52 PICTURES OF THE TRAUMA THE BOY'S BODY SUFFERED WERE ENTERED INTO EVIDENCE BUT THE CASE NEVER MADE IT TO TRIAL. ARREST REPORTS STATE THAT VANDERLINDEN BECAME “MAD AND FRUSTRATED” WHEN THE BOY DISPLAYED BEHAVOIRAL PROBLEMS AT DINNER THE NIGHT BEFORE HIS DEATH AND FAMILY MEMBERS REPORTED HEARING A LOUD BANG COMING FROM A BATHROOM WHERE VANDERLINDEN HAD TAKEN THE BOY. CHARGES STATE THE BOY WAS NOT ACTING NORMAL AFTER THE BATHROOM INCIDENT AND WOULDN’T WALK. WHEN OFFICERS ARRIVED TO ARREST VANDERLINDEN SHE EXPLAINED THAT SHE KNEW THEY WERE THERE TO ARREST HER "BECAUSE OF WHAT I DID".


AFTER BOTH ACCEPTING THE PLEA DEAL MADE TO VANDERLINDEN BY THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE AND HEARING TESTIMONY FROM THE VICTIM’S BIOLOGICAL FAMILY AND VANDERLINDEN’S FAMILY IN A SENTENCING HEARING JULY 29TH 2020, 8TH DISTRICT JUDGE SAMUEL CHIARA SUSPENDED A PRISON SENTENCE OF 5 YEARS TO LIFE IN THE UTAH STATE PENITENTIARY. JUDGE CHIARA STATED HE WAS "PERPLEXED" THAT SUCH A DEAL WAS OFFERED, ESPECIALLY AFTER SUCH DAMMING EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED IN A PRELIMINARY TRIAL IN 2019. VANDERLINDEN IS TO REPORT TO THE DUCHESNE COUNTY JAIL FRIDAY, JULY 31ST.

VANDERLINDEN’S FAMILY MAINTAINED HER INNOCENCE IN THE SENTENCING HEARING, CLAIMING LUCAS HAD DISABILITIES AND THAT HE FELL OFTEN WHICH RESULTED IN BRUISING AND THEY DESCRIBED VANDERLINDEN AS A "LOVING, KIND, GENEROUS" PERSON WHO HAS BEEN A "MODEL CITIZEN" AND A GOOD MOTHER.


LUCA'S BIOLOGICAL MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER AND GREAT GRANDMOTHER ALL SPOKE TO THE COURT AS WELL, ASKING THE JUDGE FOR LIFE IN PRISON FOR VANDERLINDEN FOR TAKING AWAY ALL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEM TO LOVE, NURTURE AND WATCH LUCAS GROW.


JUDGE CHIARA SEEMED TO STRUGGLE WITH THE SENTENCE. CALLING THE CASE THE HARDEST HE HAS EVER HAD TO SENTENCE. CHIARA STATED, "THE EVIDENCE IN THE PRELIMINARY HEARING IS NOT TESTED IN THE CRUCIBLE OF THE COURT IN A TRIAL. THE EVIDENCE IN T HIS CASE WAS QUITE DAMMING, BUT THAT EVIDENCE WAS NEVER CALLED INTO QUESTION BECAUSE THE TRIAL WAS ABANDONED. THE STATE WANTS ME TO GO BACK TO THE EVIDENCE FROM THE PRELIMINARY HEARING AND SENTENCE MRS VANDERLINDEN ON MURDER, ESSENTIALLY. LEGALLY, I, AND I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT I SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED DOING THAT. I SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED MIXING THE FACTS OF THE PRELIMINARY HEARING WITH THE FACTS THAT HAVE BEEN ADMITTED BY MRS. VANDERLINDEN AND SENDING HER TO PRISON. BUT AS I HAVE GIVEN THIS CASE GREAT, GREAT CONSIDERATION, I DON'T FEEL THAT I CAN DO THAT. IT'S NOT JUST TO TAKE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN PRELIMINARY HEARING AND DETERMINE A PERSON'S CHARGE FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NOT PLEAD GUILTY. SHE HAS PLEAD GUILTY TO A DIFFERENT CHARGE.....HERE TODAY I HAVE A PLEA TO RECKLESS BEHAVIOR. THE BEHAVIOR THAT MRS VANDERLINDEN HAS ADMITTED IS THAT, SHE KNEW THE CONDITION OF THE CHILD WHICH PUT THE CHILD'S LIFE AT RISK PRESENTED A GREAT RISK OF HARM TO THE CHILD AND SHE IGNORED THAT CONDITION RECKLESSLY AND HER RECKLESS DISREGARD OF THAT CONDITION RESULTED IN THE CHILD'S DEATH." JUDGE CHIARA ALSO CONSIDERED MORE THAN 70 LETTERS FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN SUPPORT OF LISA AND THAT SHE IS CONSIDERED "VERY LOW RISK" TO COMMIT FURTHER CRIME AND IS A PERSON OF "GENERALLY GOOD REPUTE IN THE COMMUNITY."


THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS, DAVID AND SHELBY CALL, HAVE FILED A CIVIL SUIT AGAINST LISA VANDERLINDEN, HER HUSBAND, CODY VANDERLINDEN, AS WELL AS THE UTAH DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND THE UTAH DIVISION OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES. THE CALLS ARE DEMANDING A JURY TRIAL ON THE GROUNDS THAT SHELBY’S REPORTS OF THE ABUSE LUCAS SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF VANDERLINDEN FOR MORE THAN A YEAR WERE IGNORED. ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, THE CALLS ALLEGE THAT VANDERLINDEN HAD BEEN ACCUSED OF ABUSE BY SEVERAL OTHER PARENTS WHO’S CHILDREN WERE IN VANDERLINDEN’S FOSTER CARE, BUT THAT DCFS KEPT PLACING CHILDREN WITH THE VANDERLINDEN FAMILY AND EVEN THREATENED TO CUT OFF SHELBY’S VISITS WITH LUCAS IF SHE DIDN’T STOP REPORTING ABUSE. THE STATE OFFICE OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES INVESTIGATED AND COULD NOT SUBSTANTIATE THE CALL’S CLAIMS. THE CALLS ARE SUING FOR FAILURE TO PROTECT LUCAS FROM HARM AND INJURY WHILE IN FOSTER CARE AND ALLOWING HIM TO BE BRUTALLY ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CULMINATING IN HIS VIOLENT MURDER.

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A NEOLA WOMAN ACCUSED OF MURDERING HER FOSTER SON HAS ACCEPTED A PLEA DEAL. LISA JO VANDERLINDEN HAS PLEADED GUILTY TO CHILD ABUSE HOMICIDE IN THE DEATH OF 2 YEAR OLD LUCAS CALL IN AUGUST OF 2018. VAN

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