'Horrific' Child Sex Abuse Investigation Linked To Dead Fireman

Date: 2011-08-10
Source: kirotv.com

It appears a veteran Pierce County firefighter killed himself rather than face a police investigation into the repeated molestation of his adopted daughters.

KIRO Team 7 Investigators have discovered that 48-year-old Lt. Scott D. Hamrick of Eatonville, committed suicide by carbon monoxide on June 30 inside a horse trailer at the family's ranch. Police documents say Hamrick left a note, saying he was "afraid he would be going to prison."

After a confidential source informed Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne that Hamrick was under police investigation for sexual abuse of children at the time of his death, KIRO Team 7 Investigators contacted Central Pierce County's Fire Chief, Doug Willis. He confirmed that a detective had been talking with him and others within the department regarding some "particularly disturbing allegations" especially because Hamrick and his wife had been involved with foster and special needs kids.

Chief Willis shared with KIRO 7 Eyewitness News a resignation letter sent to him by Hamrick June 23 which states, "Personal issues have caused me to tender my resignation to the department effective immediately. I have enjoyed my time with the department and sincerely regret having to leave. Please list my reasons as personal only with no contact to be made. (Signed) Scott Hamrick ," Station 68 A-shift." Hamrick had worked at for Central District Fire and Rescue for 27 years.

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A few months ago, an adopted foster daughter of the Hamricks was arrested by Eatonville police on accusations that she stole an iPod or iPod Touch. At first, the girl claimed she used the stolen item to send text messages to friends, claiming she had been molested by her father, Scott Hamrick. Police never investigated the claim, though. Eatonville Mayor Ray Harper told KIRO 7 the reason was that the girl recanted her accusation while being interviewed by an officer.

"Our officer was involved, he did arrest her, she did go to Remann Hall (where the juvenile court is located)," Harper said. "She had told the officer that she was just looking for attention from her friends and denied it to the officer."

But law enforcement sources told KIRO 7 the police interview of the girl took place with the Hamricks in the same room. Only then did the girl claim the texts were all lies.

KIRO 7 learned that the Department of Social and Health Services also may have been notified of the molestation claims.

DSHS spokesperson Sherry Hill would only confirm that the Hamrick's were licensed foster parents from October 1997 to September 2004. She said DSHS can't confirm any investigation because the case involves a juvenile.

In Eatonville, there are still questions about what could have been done differently, now that the allegations against Scott Hamrick are being investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

Asked if Eatonville officials would be looking into their handling of the case, Harper said, "Oh, most certainly. We always look at our procedures if something we feel wasn't followed through."

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesperson Ed Troyer asked that KIRO 7 hold off reporting on our findings for a few days because his detectives are "going to be making some arrests." Troyer described the case as "disgusting and horrific," but ongoing. Troyer indicated that the sexual abuse involved more than just Hamrick.

A Facebook page, run by Hamrick's wife, Drewanne, says she and Scott had five daughters and three sons.

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