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Erik Burgess, Published July 30 2012

Moorhead woman accused of assaulting 2-year-old daughter

MOORHEAD – A 24-year-old woman here is accused of assaulting her 2-year-old daughter after the child broke her mother’s cigarettes and lost the car keys, according to charges filed in Clay County on Monday.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Nicole Amber Rheault.

Rheault faces charges of third-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and child neglect for allegedly leaving bruises and hand marks on her 2-year-old daughter’s buttocks, chest, arm and face, the charges read.

Rheault told investigators she “doesn’t like kids that much,” court records say, and insinuated that she was high on methamphetamine at the time of the assault and doesn’t remember what happened.

When asked of her injuries by police, the daughter responded “Mommy, owie,” authorities claim in the criminal complaint.

The child’s grandmother took the child away until Rheault “gets her act together,” the charges read.

According to court records:

Rheault has recently been using methamphetamine and told investigators she attacked her child for up to 10 minutes, possibly on July 12, swearing at her and spanking her for breaking all her cigarettes in a new pack and losing the car keys. She also was mad at her daughter because she thought the child had removed her own diaper.

When her husband came home that day, he reportedly found Rheault yelling at the child while the child was naked and shaking in the corner of the couch.

She further told investigators that both she and her husband, who works out of town during the week, use methamphetamine, which is why she was sleep-deprived at the time of the assault.

She said the daughter was unattended from midnight until around 4 or 5 p.m. the day of the alleged assault.

Rheault told investigators that she has “cut back” on her meth use and now uses one or two times a week.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518