$500,000 bail for suspect in assault of child

Date: 2011-09-15
Source: The Herald

Published: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 7:50 p.m.

$500,000 bail for suspect in assault of child
The Mukilteo woman is also accused of depriving the girl of food and water.

By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- A judge on Thursday set bail at $500,000 for a Mukilteo woman accused of assaulting a 10-year-old girl and depriving the underweight child of food.

Mary Mazalic, 34, also was prohibited from being around children.

Mazalic is being held on suspicion of first degree assault of a child. She was arrested Wednesday for investigation of assaulting and mistreating the girl who was emaciated when she was removed from her home in August.

At the time, the girl weighed 51 pounds, about two-thirds the weight of a healthy child her age. She spent about two weeks in an Everett hospital being treated for severe malnutrition. She also had multiple bruises, abrasions and scars all over her body, according to court papers.

The girl lived with her older brother and Mazalic, his girlfriend. Police took the girl from her home in August after a store owner raised concerns with Child Protective Services. CPS was told the girl had a gash on her arm, a sunken face, and her bones were visible throughout her body. The caller also reported Mazalic was being verbally abusive toward the girl.

During the investigation, Mazalic told police that the girl was not being abused, and that she was "thin, but eats well," according to court papers.

In asking for the half million dollar bail, deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul said the possibility of a long prison term if Mazalic is convicted could give her incentive to flee. Paul also said the suspect could intimidate witnesses, including other children.

Seattle attorney David Marshall, who specializes in child abuse defense cases, said Mazalic has no felony record and has lived in the community for many years, so wasn't likely to disappear.

"This is her home," he said.

He also said that his client is disabled and has medical needs that would be better met outside of jail. He did not elaborate on her condition during the bail hearing in Everett District Court.

Mazalic could face a minimum sentence of eight to 10 years in prison if she is convicted of a first-degree assault of a child charge.

Doctors told investigators that the girl had cigarette burns on her wrist and the tops of her feet. Marks all over her stomach and chest were likely from some sort of cord, according to court records. The girl also had a kidney infection. Doctors concluded that the girl likely was deprived of food and water.

The girl has gained about 20 pounds since she was removed from the home a month ago, Paul said.

The girl initially told authorities that she was fed three meals a day and was treated well. She later told a social worker that if she talked, she was told that her brothers would be taken away from her and separated.

Now in foster care, the girl last week allegedly told her foster mother she'd been abused by Mazalic.

According to court documents, the girl said she was forced to sleep in a bathtub and that Mazalic burned her with cigarettes, beat her with electrical cords and stifled the girl's screams by placing a rubber ball in her mouth. She said the woman had tried to drown her in the bathtub and threatened to kill her and dump her body in a lake.

Child Protective Services had been called to investigate the family before. In 2009, a boy, 16, asked to remain locked up at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center in Everett rather than return to live with the couple. The boy told authorities he was fed only oatmeal and was beaten with a wooden paddle wrapped in leather if he didn't follow house rules, according to a search warrant filed in August.

Court documents show that the couple denied the allegations raised in 2009. In a lengthy letter to a Snohomish County Superior Court judge, they admitted putting the boy on a "jail food diet" and making him sleep in a tent in the back yard to discipline him. They called the boy a "habitual liar and chronic runaway," and detailed their efforts to provide him a stable home. The boy was returned to the home.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.


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