The saga of Kimberly forder; ‘I Wish I Would Have Called 911’

Relates to:
Date: 2008-03-02

Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA)

By Josh Farley, jfarley@kitsapsun.com·

The Seabeck woman was sentenced to 27 months for her 8-year-old foster son’s death, but hopes to be reunited with her other foster kids when she’s released soon from prison.A

PORT ORCHARD

A Seabeck woman sentenced Friday in the manslaughter of her foster son will soon be freed following 18 months’ incarceration.

Kimberly Ann Forder, 45, was given 27 months in prison by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen a week following her guilty plea for second-degree manslaughter.

Forder will be sent to the state women’s prison at Purdy, where she’ll stay only for a short time.

Her sentence of 27 months makes her eligible for reduced time for good behavior, and her attorney said she displayed “model behavior" during her time in the Kitsap County jail.

Forder was arrested in August 2006 in the death of her foster son, 8-year-old Christopher Forder, who died of pneumonia on Nov. 24, 2002. She told Olsen, while sobbing, that she’d “wished I would’ve called 911."

Olsen chose the high end of a 21- to 27-month sentencing range.

She said she had viewed the photos of the boy, who was heavily bruised.

“This child suffered, and as a result of the negligence you admitted to, he died," Olsen told Forder.

Prosecutors had initially charged Forder with homicide by abuse in Christopher Forder’s death, alleging that his pneumonia was a result of neglect and abuse.

But “serious inconsistencies" in the testimony of key witnesses — namely Forder’s biological daughters — led the state’s attorneys to question whether they could prove Forder caused the boy to die.

Roger Hunko, Kimberly Forder’s attorney, said that she should have called authorities for help, but that was all his client was guilty of.

Kelly Montgomery, deputy prosecutor who handled the case, said the boy’s bruises were too severe to be self-inflicted.

Kimberly Forder and her husband, Robert, had worked as independent missionaries in Liberia. They had seven foster children — four Americans and a set of triplets whose home country is unknown.

Kimberly was arrested when she returned to the United States for medical treatment in August 2006 and later charged by prosecutors.

Joel Park, Forder’s father, said the media was quick to condemn his daughter with no regard for “innocent until proven guilty."

Still, he said: “I’m so proud of her, the way she’s held up."

All seven foster children living with the Forders were returned to the United States by the U.S. State Department after they were dropped off at a Liberian orphanage. They have been placed by the state Department of Social and Health Services in homes around Western Washington.

Robert Forder remains in Liberia, Park said, and is ill. Park said he may never return to the United States.

Park said his daughter wants to get her foster children back.

“She loves those kids, and they need her back," he said.

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