Girl, 10, tells of reported abuse and torture
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Girl, 10, tells of reported abuse and torture
The child has gained 20 pounds since she was taken from a Mukilteo house where prosecutors alleged she was beaten and starved
By Diana Hefley, Herald Writer
Editor's note: The headline on an earlier version of this story misstated the girl's relationship with the suspect.
MUKILTEO -- An emaciated girl rescued from a Mukilteo house last month asked for a Big Mac after hospital nurses assured her that she could have anything she liked to eat.
The 10-year-old said that she'd watched her brother's girlfriend, Mary Mazalic, who she called mom, eat McDonald's double-decker hamburgers. The child said she was never allowed to have one. The nurses told the girl she could have a Big Mac.
"No don't spend any money. If you do, please write my mom a note so I don't get in trouble," the girl reportedly said.
Authorities removed the girl from Mazalic's home last month after concerned shop workers noticed that the girl appeared emaciated. The clerks reported that the girl shook the entire time she followed Mazalic around the store.
Mazalic was shopping for a bathing suit for an upcoming cruise. She told the clerks that the girl was a "bad kid."
Prosecutors allege that Mazalic "repeatedly and brutally beat, starved, burned, threatened, humiliated and abused" the girl for nearly a year. Mazalic, 34, was charged Monday with first-degree assault of a child and first-degree criminal mistreatment.
The girl weighed about 51 pounds when Child Protective Services asked police to remove her from the home. That's about two-thirds the weight of a healthy child her age. Doctors also reported that the girl had what appeared to be cigarette burns on the tops of her feet. She also had injuries to her stomach and chest that appeared to be consistent with being whipped with some sort of cord.
Doctors also said that it appeared that the girl had sat in urine for an extended period of time.
The child spent about two weeks in the hospital. She has gained about 20 pounds since she was rescued.
The girl disclosed multiple accounts of abuse and torture, court papers said.
She told authorities that she was beaten with an extension cord and a ball or sock was stuffed in her mouth to stifle her screams, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul wrote in court papers.
The girl said the beatings would go on for so long that Mazalic would need to take a break. She said she tried to defend herself. Mazalic allegedly threatened to kill the girl and forced her to sleep in a bathtub and take cold showers. The girl said the beatings happened while her brother was at work.
The girl also explained that often she was forced to go without eating. Mazalic allegedly would eat in front of her and when she complained of being hungry, Mazalic would say "too bad," Paul wrote. The girl told authorities that sometimes Mazalic put soap in her food and forced her to eat it.
Police noted that Mazalic, her boyfriend and their dog appeared well-fed.
Prosecutors allege that Mazalic abused her position of trust and her victim was vulnerable. That leaves the door open for prosecutors to seek a lengthier prison sentence if Mazalic is convicted.
The girl is developmentally delayed and may suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Paul wrote. She came from New York to live with her brother and Mazalic about a year ago. Her parents reportedly paid Mazalic to take care of her, court papers said.
Detectives have determined that many claims Mazalic made about the girl are untrue, Paul wrote. She falsely claimed to be the girl's adoptive mother and the foster mother for the girl's two younger siblings. She also claimed that the girl was expelled from school for stealing.
Police later learned that the girl was disciplined for stealing food from another student. Mazalic allegedly asked school authorities to suspend the girl and when they refused, she kept the girl home for her own "suspension."
The girl missed 36 days of school last year, court papers said.
Another child lived with Mazalic and her boyfriend a few years ago. That boy ended up at Denney Juvenile Justice Center and told social workers he'd rather stay in detention than return home. Mazalic met with a social worker and admitted making the boy sleep in a tent and feeding him "jail food."
A mental health worker noted that Mazalic "is a chronic liar and will lie and manipulate everything to suit her and her story for the day," court papers said.
Mazalic was arrested last week and is being held on $500,000 bail. She's expected to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.