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Coroner: Adopted teen died of hypothermia in backyard


SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. -- The Skagit County coroner has ruled than an adopted 13-year-old girl died of hypothermia in her own backyard.

It happened in May, but police and Child Protective Services are still investigating, and now, so are the KOMO Problem Solvers.

According to the coroner's office, Hana Williams was found dead on May 12 in the yard of her Sedro-Woolley home.

"Her death was suspicious, that is what was reported to the department," said Patty Turner with Child Protective Services. "There are reports that she was outside that evening and reports of significant weight loss."

CPS told KOMO News it believes Hana, who was adopted from Ethiopia in 2008, was outside most of the night in the rain on the day she died.

After Hana's death, CPS convinced a judge to pull Hana's eight brothers and sister -- ages seven to 17 -- from their parents, Larry and Carri Williams. Those children are all now in temporary foster care, including one other sibling adopted from Ethiopia.

We tried to interview Hana's parents, but were told to leave.

Turner says their job at CPS is to make sure children are safe.

"And at this time, our department and the courts believe the children are not safe in their own home," Turner said.

Law enforcement can pull children from a home immediately if they believe they are in imminent danger, but in this case, it was the coroner's office who raised concerns.

When asked if it appeared Hana was living outside, Turner responded: "At this time, because it's an active investigation, I can't comment."

CPS says the children are cooperative and doing well. Meanwhile, the Skagit County Sheriff's Office sent its findings to the prosecutor to make a decision on possible charges. The parents have requested a hearing to fight to get their children back.

2011 Aug 1