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Physician Had 'Grave Concerns' for Forder Children


Physician Had 'Grave Concerns' for Forder Children

Brynn Grimley, Bgrimley@kitsapsun.com

Posted August 30, 2006 at midnight


One year after the death of Christopher Forder, a pediatrician familiar with child abuse cases expressed "grave concerns for the (Forder) children's safety in the home," according to state Court of Appeals documents.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Dr. Yolanda Duralde of Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma recalled the case.

During the July 2003 appellate case, an agreement was reached allowing the Forders to keep their four adopted children as long as the couple attended parenting classes and allowed a social worker to make regular visits. Having worked on numerous child abuse cases in Pierce and Kitsap counties, Duralde said this is not uncommon.

While Duralde never met or interviewed the Forders in person, she did review Christopher's medical records and police reports after his November 2002 death.

"For an 8-year-old to die of pneumonia is unheard of," Duralde said, adding antibiotics could have helped Christopher overcome the respiratory infection.

According to court documents, four years before his death, Christopher's "height and weight had fallen from the 75th-95th percentile range to the 5th percentile range," on the height and weight index used by doctors to monitor a child's health.

Because the Forder family lived in a house in a secluded neighborhood and because they

home-schooled their children


held church sessions at home

, no one regularly interacted with the children.

"With families that isolate themselves, you want more eyes on the kids," Duralde said. In abuse cases, courts can require children attend public school or day care away from home, she said. This allows people outside of family to see the children.

Kimberly Forder told authorities she home-schooled her children, but Central Kitsap school officials said her only letter of intent to home-school came in the fall of 2003. No other letters of intent were filed. Parents who home-school are required each fall to notify their local school district.

While police and Child Protective Services personnel knew something was amiss in the Forder family, because no one would talk, they could make no arrests for the abuse.

"At the time everybody was so frustrated because we felt it was obvious," Duralde said. "But we couldn't do anything because of a lack of evidence."Kitsap Sun reporter Chad Lewis contributed to this story.

2006 Aug 30