exposing the dark side of adoption
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Accident or Murder?



Daily World,
by Lisa Patterson (1-12-03) - lpatterson@thedailyworld.com

Tap, tap, tap. A little finger poked Nathan Mohler's shoulder. "I think you're my brother," said a blue - eyed little boy with shiny blonde hair.

For most of their lives the Grays Harbor boys had been separated from each other while being shuffled through the foster care system. Andy Mohler, the youngest, was adopted not long after he tapped his big brother's shoulder, and the chance meeting that summer afternoon at a 4 - H camp in Mason County would be their last.

Andy Mohler, later renamed Shawn Lowrence by his adoptive parents, died while on a fishing trip with his new dad and a young friend on Oct. 9, 1999 - about a year after his adoption. At first the 10 - year - old's death was ruled accidental. It was determined that he slipped, hit his head - perhaps on some rocks - and drowned in the remote Brown Creek Campground area north of Shelton. Weeks later, police learned the adoptive parents took out $650,000 in life insurance policies on their new son.

. ...When Andy was adopted, the ties with his biological mother weren't the only ones severed - his brothers lost their rights to contact Andy, too. Mohler doesn't think that was right. Tears turned to anger when he found out his brother had been dead for at least a week, and that the autopsy and cremation had already come and gone.

"I understand that it was a closed adoption and everything, but his biological mom and siblings should have been contacted," Mohler said.

"....Andy had an abrasion in the back of his head, like he fell and hit his head," Mohler said. "But there wasn't any debris in the cut. It makes me think that he didn't fall first. That someone hit him."

.....He's afraid the longer the case goes on, the more chance there is that it will be forgotten - that he'll never know what really happened to his little brother. That's why he decided to talk to the media, including NBC's "Dateline," believing that his speaking out will help keep the investigation alive. The TV segment is expected to be aired nationwide sometime soon.

..... On the fishing trip, detectives said, the adoptive father separated the two boys and later asked the friend to help him look for Andy.

The mother attempted to cash out one of the life insurance policies five days after the death.

2003 Jan 12