Documents detail 8-year-old's grim end

Relates to:
Date: 2006-08-30

Olympian, The (WA)
Author: The Associated Press

PORT ORCHARD - Four years ago, 8-year-old Christopher Forder lay on his bedroom floor, stricken with pneumonia, heavily bruised and nearing death.

His adoptive father called a family meeting and told the family's seven other children they had a choice: They could bury their brother in the backyard, or call 9-1-1 and risk having all the children taken away because of Christopher's obvious bruising.

Later that night, Nov. 24, 2002, Forder and his wife, Kimberly Ann Forder, tried unsuccessfully to revive Christopher with CPR. A son called 9-1-1.

An account of the 8-year-old's last moments is contained in court documents, which allege that his mother abused and neglected him to the point of death, never seeking outside medical help.

The night he died, Detective Lori Blankenship walked into his bedroom to find the bruised and battered little boy lying on the floor, partly covered with a blanket.

Dr. Emanuel Lacsina, the Kitsap County coroner's office pathologist, determined that Christopher died of severe pneumonia. He noted the extensive bruising. Manner of death was listed as "undetermined."

The Forders say Christopher's bruises were caused by reactive detachment disorder, which caused him to scratch and pick at his skin and hurl himself into walls.

Blankenship said the family consulted a doctor who said the disorder was a possibility, but it was never diagnosed. Kitsap County authorities were suspicious about Christopher's death, but for nearly four years the investigation went nowhere. This month, family members came forward.

Forder, recently returned to the United States from Africa, was arrested Saturday. She's in the Kitsap County jail, held on $1 million bail following her not guilty plea Monday to charges of homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter.

Robert and seven adopted children remain in Liberia, acting as Christian missionaries independent of an established church or aid organization.

When they lived in Seabeck, Kimberly was a stay-at-home mom and Robert was a journeyman painter. The Forders so far have adopted eight children, including Christopher, and have three now-grown biological children.

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