exposing the dark side of adoption
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Mother ordered to trial for child abuse, torture


by M. Dilworth

PALMDALE – A 50-year-old woman accused of beating and torturing her two adopted children in their Palmdale home must stand trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Bernie LaForteza ruled there was enough evidence to try Ingrid Brewer on two counts of torture, two counts of child abuse, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of battery with serious bodily injury.

Brewer, 50, has been in custody since Jan. 16, when deputies found Brewer’s two adopted children, ages 7 and 8, wrapped in a blanket under a parked vehicle about a quarter of a mile from their Palmdale home. The children told deputies they ran away from home because they were tired of being tied up and beaten by Brewer.

Brewer was arrested at her home shortly after the children were found, and she pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts on Jan. 18.

At Brewer’s preliminary hearing Tuesday, two sheriff’s deputies and a registered nurse gave testimony on the abuse the children said they suffered at the hands of “Mama Ingrid.”

Brewer’s 8-year-old adopted son said he’d been beaten with ropes, pipes, coat hangers, belts and a hammer, according to testimony from detective Troy Bowser of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.

“He also said he’d been stepped on,” Bowser said.

The 7-year-old girl reported similar abuse, according to Bowser. The children said they were fed once a day, usually oatmeal, and some days they would go without eating, Bowser testified.

The children said Brewer locked them in separate bedrooms while she was at work to prevent them from stealing food, Bowser said. They reported being tied up in their rooms at least twice, while Brewer was at work, Bowser said. The children said they hadn’t taken a full bath or brushed their teeth since Christmas Eve, Bowser testified.

On Jan. 15, Brewer’s adopted son managed to free himself from his room; then he freed his sister and the two ran away from home, Bowser testified.

Once found, the children told deputies about the alleged abuse, and Brewer was arrested at her Palmdale home in the early morning hours of Jan. 16. Bowser said he spoke to Brewer that morning, and Brewer said she was having “disciplinary issues” but denied locking the children in their rooms while she was at work. Brewer said she’d only locked the children in their rooms at night to keep them from “stealing food,” Bowser said.

Deputies searched Brewer’s home and found a bent deadbolt chain next to the boy’s bedroom, according to testimony from sheriff’s patrol deputy Anthony Meyers. The boy identified the deadbolt as the one he saw when he managed to push his bedroom door open to escape, Meyers testified.

Both children had more than 100 injuries throughout their bodies, including injuries that were consistent with being hit with a hammer, electrical cords, coat hangers, pipes, ropes, and belts, according to testimony from Mary Reina, a registered nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital.

Reina said she examined and photographed Brewer’s 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in the early morning hours of Jan. 16.

The children appeared “malnourished” and had a “range of injuries” throughout their body, including fresh abrasions, old scars, scabs, and blisters consistent with having their hands restrained, Reina testified. The youngsters were also dirty with bad oral care and smelled like they hadn’t taken a bath in a while, Reina testified.

As witnesses gave testimony on the alleged abuse, the biological father of Brewer’s 7-year-old girl sat crying in the back of the courtroom.

“It really broke me down,” Alan Colemen said after the hearing. Coleman said he was committed to attending every hearing until justice was served for his daughter.

“I see her as guilty,” Coleman said about Brewer. “She can’t walk from this one, she really can’t.”

The two children look a whole lot better now, and they’re happier, Coleman said, adding that the boy is now 9 and the girl will turn 8 this coming Thursday.

Coleman hopes to gain full custody of his daughter, as well as her half-brother, and he’s searching for an attorney that will help him with the case.

“I’m not giving up until they’re mine,” he said.

Brewer is due back in court on March 19 for a second arraignment. She remains jailed on $2 million bail.

2013 Mar 5