Charges: Woman abused girls, hid husband’s sex abuse

Date: 2011-08-10

By Martha Kang

TACOMA, Wash. -- A former Pierce County firefighter who was being investigated for sexual abuse of his adoptive daughter has committed suicide, and prosecutors have charged his widow.

Scott Hamrick, a 27-year veteran of Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, took his own life on June 30, a week after he resigned from the department, according to Central Pierce Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Doug Willis.

The fire chief added 48-year-old Hamrick's co-workers were "shocked, in disbelief and angry to learn he had been under investigation for crimes against children."

Prosecutors have filed charges against the deceased man's widow, Drew Anne Hamrick, whom they believe knew about the alleged sexual abuse of her adoptive daughters, and also physically abused them herself.

According to the statement of probable cause, the Hamricks, who have three adult sons, adopted five girls, who are now between 12 and 21 years old.

Four of the daughters said they'd been sexually abused by Scott Hamrick, and three said they'd been physically abused by Drew Anne Hamrick.

One girl told investigators Drew Anne Hamrick often locked her in her room with a pad lock and kept her inside for several days without food. Her siblings were forbidden from giving her food, and told to keep her locked up, the statement said. When she was fed, she was only given plain oatmeal, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, she said.

The girl was made to sleep on the room's concrete floor on which she was also forced to defecate. She was initially given a bucket for this purpose, but the bucket was later taken away, she said. Drew Anne Hamrick also kept her puppies in the same room, and the dogs also relieved themselves on the floor, the girl told investigators.

At one point, the girl began sneaking away to a neighbor's home for food and water, detectives said, but when the Hamricks found out, they screwed her windows closed and put plywood over the glass.

The same girl, who is now 14, told investigators Scott Hamrick began sexually abusing her when she was 5 or 6 years old, and continued to abuse her until earlier this year. When Drew Anne Hamrick learned about the alleged abuse, she called the girl a liar and a "skank," and forced her to write a statement denying any abuse, detectives said.

Scott Hamrick was sitting next to the girl as she wrote the statement, the girl told investigators. She added Drew Anne Hamrick claimed it was the man's medication that was causing him to touch his daughters, and if she told anyone, "she will ruin the family and they would live on the streets," the statement said. The other daughters corroborated the girl's claims.

Another daughter told detectives Scott Hamrick began sexually abusing her "ever since I can remember," and when the sex abuse allegations surfaced, Drew Anne Hamrick told her, "Why do you hate your dad? It's not like he raped you ... he just touched you." The couple made her promise not to tell anyone, she said, and Scott Hamrick, amid tears, told her he'd kill himself if she did.

A third daughter, who is now 21, said Drew Anne Hamrick "'slashed' her with scissors when she was 14 years old, and then used tape to close the wound," the statement said. She added she had a burn on her arm from the time Drew Anne Hamrick threw a hot curling iron at her. The woman and another daughter reported having been beaten with a metal spatula by Drew Anne Hamrick.

The allegations first surfaced when Drew Anne Hamrick told her adult son that her husband "had been cheating on her" with one of their daughters, according to detectives. The man decided to call police.

Drew Anne Hamrick has been charged with two counts of tampering with a witness, unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree criminal mistreatment.

She was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail on Wednesday night. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.


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