Homicide Suspect's Former Foster Children Returned to Kitsap

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Date: 2007-12-11
Source: kitsapsun.com

Homicide Suspect's Former Foster Children Returned to Kitsap

BREMERTON -- Seven children once under the care of a Seabeck woman now awaiting trial on homicide-by-abuse charges have been returned to Western Washington from the African nation of Liberia, according to the U.S. State Department.

The children — four Americans and three triplets whose home country is unknown — were removed from a Liberian orphanage with the help of local authorities and officials with the U.S. Embassy in the West African country.

They were once in the custody of Robert and Kimberly Forder, formerly of Seabeck. Kimberly Forder is currently being held in the Kitsap County jail on $1 million bail. Her trial is slated for April 2008. State Department officials declined to comment on the whereabouts of Robert Forder, nor elaborate on how the children ended up at the African orphanage.

The five boys, ages 12, 7, 5, 4 and 4, and two girls, ages 5 and 4, have been placed with foster families around Western Washington, a state Department of Social and Health Services confirmed Tuesday.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilson said the children were dropped at the Liberian orphanage by Robert Forder. A sheriff’s detective and representatives from the state’s Department of Social and Health Services met with two women from the orphanage in Seattle, Wilson said.

Robert and Kimberly Forder worked as independent missionaries in Liberia until Kimberly Forder, 45, was arrested in August 2006 by Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives for allegedly abusing one of her foster sons, 8-year-old Christopher Forder, to death in November 2002.

It took four years before county prosecutors charged Forder with homicide by abuse, after one of the Forder’s biological children came forward to authorities with information. According to court documents, Christopher “received, on the average, six beatings a day,” by his mother, while the parents maintained he suffered from “reactive detachment disorder,” scratching his skin and throwing himself into walls. Christopher Forder ultimately died of pneumonia according to court records.

Following her arrest, Robert Forder and the children were believed to have remained in Liberia. The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Spokesman Steve Royster said the children arrived in Washington state Dec. 8, “back in America in time for the holidays.”

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