Wife of Washington Firefighter Denies Link to Child Sex Abuse After His Suicide
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
The mother of four Eatonville, Wash., adopted daughters pleaded not guilty today to charges that she physically abused the girls and also turned a blind eye to the alleged sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of her now-deceased husband.
Drew Anne Hamrick, 48, was arrested Wednesday. Her late husband, Lt. Scott Hamrick, 49, a veteran firefighter, killed himself June 30 after learning that police were investigating allegations he had molested the four foster daughters that the couple later adopted.
"The entire department and particularly his co-workers are shocked, in disbelief and angry to learn that he had been under investigation for crimes against children," Fire Chief Doug Willis wrote in a statement.
The mayor's office and police department have not responded to ABC News' requests for comment
Hamrick abruptly resigned June 23 after 27 years as a firefighter, writing in a letter shared by Willis that "personal issues" were the reason for his resignation, KIRO 7 TV reported.
The couple had five adopted daughters and two adult sons together, along with a son Drew Anne Hamrick had from a previous relationship. Four of the daughters said they were abused.
They were reportedly licensed as foster parents between October 1997 and September 2004.
Drew Anne Hamrick's attorney told ABC affiliate KOMO that she had no prior knowledge of the alleged repeated molestation and kicked her husband out of the house when she learned of it.
But Scott Hamrick's actions were only the beginning of the pain the girls allegedly suffered at the hands of their parents, authorities say.
One daughter, whom court documents called K.H. in order to protect her identity, was allegedly locked in a room for up to a week at times, without food, water, a bed and a bathroom.
"[Scott and Drew Anne] repeatedly locked the victim in a room with a pad lock on the outside of the door and denied her food for days," the court documents allege. "The victim was forced to sleep on a blanket on a concrete floor."
The 14-year-old girl would sneak out the window to her neighbor's home for food and drinks, according to the courts documents. When the Hamricks found out, they allegedly screwed her window shut. When the girl was caught removing the screws, they allegedly placed boards over her window.
Hamrick's attorney said she only locked her daughter up so her husband couldn't get to her.
A third daughter, who is now 21, told police of one incident in which her mother slashed her with scissors and used tape to close her wound. Another time she threw a hot curling iron on the girl's arm, leaving burns, she alleged. The mother also allegedly hit the 12-year-old with a metal spatula.
Not only was Drew Anne Hamrick allegedly abusive, but she also allegedly was aware and continued to allow her husband to sexually abuse their daughters, something one daughter told police had happened "ever since I can remember."
Another daughter recalled the molestation began at age 5 or 6.
He told one girl that "she will ruin the family and they would live on the streets" if she ever revealed the abuse to anyone, according to the court documents
When Drew Anne Hamrick learned of the sexual abuse, she allegedly called her 14-year-old daughter a liar and a "skank." The couple then allegedly forced the girl to write a signed letter stating there had never been any abuse.
But there were several cries for help.
Neighbors complained to Child Protective Services in March 2010 that one daughter told them her father would withhold food if she did not complete her chores well enough and that her windows had been boarded up. The claims were investigated but ruled unfounded.
Suspect's Son Called Police for Alleged Abuse
The 14-year-old daughter stole an iPod at school in May 2011 and used it to send messages to a friend alleging that her father sexually abused her, according to the court documents. When the iPod was recovered, she was asked about the allegations of abuse but denied them. A patrol car came to the school where her Miranda rights were read to her in the presence of her parents.
"She had told the officer that she was just looking for attention from her friends and denied it to the officer," Eatonville Mayor Ray Harper told KIRO 7.
The allegations weren't pursued.
But then Drew Anne Hamrick looked to her son Justin for advice. She told him that his father had been "cheating on her" with one of the girls, according to the court documents
Justin Hamrick called the police, ending the years of abuse the girls allegedly suffered at the hands of their parents.
Drew Anne Hamrick faces two counts of tampering with a witness, unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree criminal mistreatment.