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Mother Sentenced in Foster Son's Death Prepares for Release


Mother Sentenced in Foster Son's Death Prepares for Release

By Josh Farley (Contact)
Friday, February 29, 2008

PORT ORCHARD -- A Seabeck woman sentenced Friday in the manslaughter of her foster son will soon be freed following 18 months' incarceration.

Kimberly Ann Forder, 45, was given 27 months in prison by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally F. Olsen a week following her guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter.

Forder will be sent to the state women's prison at Purdy, where she'll stay only for a short time. Her sentence of 27 months makes her eligible for reduced time for good behavior, and her attorney said she displayed "model behavior" during her time in the Kitsap County jail.

Forder was arrested in August 2006 in the death of her foster son, 8-year-old Christopher Forder, who died of pneumonia on Nov. 24, 2002. She told Olsen, while sobbing, that she'd "wished I would've called 911."

Olsen chose the high end of a 21- to 27-month sentencing range. She said she had viewed the photos of the boy, who was heavily bruised.

"This child suffered, and as a result of the negligence you admitted to, he died," Olsen told Forder.

Prosecutors had initially charged Forder with homicide by abuse in Christopher Forder's death, alleging that his pneumonia was a result of neglect and abuse.

But "serious inconsistencies" in the testimony of key witnesses — namely Forder's biological daughters — led the state's attorneys to question whether they could prove Forder caused the boy to die.

Roger Hunko, Kimberly Forder's attorney, said that she should have called authorities for help, but that was all his client was guilty of.

Kelly Montgomery, deputy prosecutor who handled the case, said the boy's bruises were too severe to be self-inflicted.

Kimberly Forder and her husband, Robert, had worked as independent missionaries in Liberia. They had seven foster children — four Americans and a set of triplets whose home country is unknown.

Kimberly was arrested when she returned to the United States for medical treatment in August 2006 and later charged by prosecutors.

Joel Park, Forder's father, said the media was quick to condemn his daughter with no regard for "innocent until proven guilty."

Still, he said, "I'm so proud of her, the way she's held up."

All seven foster children living with the Forders were returned to the United States by the U.S. State Department after they were dropped off at a Liberian orphanage. They have been placed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in homes around Western Washington.

Robert Forder remains in Liberia, Park said, and is ill. Park said he may never return to the United States

Park said his daughter would be seeking her foster children back.

"She loves those kids, and they need her back," he said.

Forder Case Timeline

Nov. 24, 2002

Christopher Forder, 8, dies of pneumonia.

Aug. 28, 2006

Kimberly Ann Forder is charged with homicide by abuse in Christopher's death and is held on $1 million bail.

December 2006

Forder's bail is reduced to $500,000 until a fellow inmate tells sheriff's detectives that Forder told her she'd be "gone" if her bail was reduced. It is re-upped to $1 million.

February 2007

Michael V. Forder, 24, one of Forder's three biological sons, gets an 8 ½-year prison sentence for the rape of a family member. He had pleaded guilty in an agreement to testify against his mother and receive a reduced sentence. But he recanted that testimony and subsequently got a 102-month sentence.

December 2007

The seven foster children that were once under Forder's care in Liberia are brought back to the U.S. after being dropped off at an orphanage in the African nation.

February 21, 2008

Forder pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter in Christopher Forder's death.

February 29, 2008

Kimberly Forder, 45, is sentenced to 27 months in jail.

2008 Feb 29