Local Newslinks


'Three Strikes' for Abusive Parents Proposed

Bill Would Get Foster Children in Permanent Homes More Quickly



'Sirita's Law' Stalls In Senate  
A bill aimed at protecting children in abusive families is not going to make it into law this session, but lawmakers hope to bring it up again next session.
Stepmother Pleads Guilty To Murdering Little Girl  
Sirita Sotelo's stepmom struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to manslaughter; she's accused of beating the little girl to death.
Stepmother Charged In Death Of Sirita Sotelo
KOMO 4 News has learned that prosecutors have just charged Sirita's stepmother, 25-year-old Heather Ewell, with manslaughter.
'It Is Too Late For My Little Girl'  
The foster father of a girl who died after being returned to her biological father testified Tuesday in support of a bill that would limit how many times a child can be returned to abusive parents.
Remembering Sirita Sotelo
People placed roses on the little girl's gravesite to commemorate what should have been her 5th birthday; she was beaten to death last month.
'We've Got An Amber Law, Maybe We Need A Sirita Law'  
Sirita Sotelo's foster father hopes state law is changed in the wake of her death to protect foster children if they are given back to their biological parents.
Slain Child Was Subject Of Extensive Child Welfare File
State officials say the 4-year-old girl was checked a number of times as a potential abuse or neglect victim before being returned to her family.
4-Year-Old Died A Violent Death  
The medical examiner says Sirita Sotelo died of homicidal trauma; her death is being investigated as a murder.
Young Girl's Death Investigated As Homicide  
A Lake Stevens woman called 911 Friday night to report that a 4-year-old girl was not breathing and unconscious, but she died before deputies arrived.

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  Step-mother pleads guilty to beating death

Video Pat McReynolds reports More ... Custom Video ... A Lake Stevens, Wash
  Stepmother charged with killing 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo 

EVERETT, Wash. - The stepmother of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo has been charged with the beating death of the toddler in January at the family home in Lake Stevens, Wash.
  Stepmother charged with killing 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo

EVERETT, Wash. - A first-degree manslaughter charge was filed Monday against the 25-year-old stepmother of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo, who was beaten to death in January at the family home in Lake Stevens.
  Answers sought in death of Lake Stevens girl

EVERETT, Wash. - A 4-year-old Lake Stevens, Wash. girl initially thought to have been killed by poison last Friday actually died of blunt force trauma to the head and body, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office.
  Four-year-old had troubled history

EVERETT, Wash. - Hours before a 4-year-old girl died at a Lake Stevens home a woman who identified herself as the girl's aunt called a poison control center.
  Little girl's death investigated as homicide

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — Snohomish County sheriff’s officers are investigated the violent death of a 4-year-old girl.

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Interview on Live from Seattle with Thor Tolo, Feb. 16, 2005 *



Archived Senate Floor Debate

April 6, 2005:  Debate on HB2156 is at the beginning

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Archived Broadcast of the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee

March 29, 2005, 10:00AM: HB2156 Sirita's Law

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Archived House Floor Debate

March 10, 2005:  Debate on HB2156 runs from 2:09 to 2:26

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Archived Broadcast of the House Children & Family Services Committee

March 1, 2005, 6:00PM: HB2156 Sirita's Law

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4/1/2005 - HeraldNet: Task force will study Sirita's Law
A bill in the state Legislature prompted by the beating death of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo of Lake Stevens isn't expected to make it into the law books this year.

3/24/2005 - HeraldNet: Guilty plea in girl's killing
A Lake Stevens woman stood before a Snohomish County Superior Court judge Wednesday and admitted that she was

3/15/2005 - HeraldNet: Charge filed in child's death
The stepmother of a 4-year-old Lake Stevens girl who was found dead in her home Jan. 21 was charged Monday with first-degree manslaughter.

3/13/2005 - HeraldNet: House vote encourages foster dad of slain child
OLYMPIA - The foster father of slain toddler Sirita Sotelo said Friday that the fight to protect children from habitually abusive parents is gaining steam after an overwhelming victory in the state Legislature.

3/3/2005 - HeraldNet: House panel passes bill on child abuse
OLYMPIA - Spurred by the January death of a Lake Stevens girl, the state House's Children and Family Services Committee unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to limit the rights of chronically abusive parents.

3/2/2005 - HeraldNet: Lawmakers consider tougher laws to protect foster children
OLYMPIA - The death of a 4-year-old Lake Stevens girl has prompted a Cle Elum lawmaker to push a law that would terminate parental rights of mothers and fathers who chronically abuse and mistreat their children.

3/1/2005 - HeraldNet: Victim advocate post at risk
EVERETT - Cuts to a federal grant could cripple the efforts of a local group to offer support to crime victims and their families around the state.

2/24/2005 - HeraldNet: Sirita's Law aims to keep kids safe
LAKE STEVENS - A month after 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo was beaten to death, lawmakers in Olympia have called for changes in the law to protect children like her.

2/13/2005 - HeraldNet: Foster dad seeks child protections
Instead of bringing a cake and candles for his foster daughter's fifth birthday, Gary brought flowers for her grave.

2/2/2005 - HeraldNet: Girl's family grieves
EVERETT - Sirita Jimmina Sotelo was a fashion princess who loved

2/2/2005 - HeraldNet - Photo Gallery
Photo Michael V. Martina / The Herald Patricia Sotelo, mother of Sirita Sotelo, grieves for her daughter after the girl's burial Tuesday. Copyright © #year(now())# The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash. Questions or comments? Go to Contact

2/1/2005 - HeraldNet: Head injury killed girl, 4
LAKE STEVENS -Sirita Sotelo had a bruise around her right eye and her body was cold when paramedics arrived at her father's home after her aunt called 911, court documents say.

1/30/2005 - HeraldNet: Sirita Jimmina Sotelo
OBITUARY: Sirita Jimmina Sotelo, age 4, died January 21, 2005.

1/29/2005 - HeraldNet: Dead girl's home searched
LAKE STEVENS - Snohomish County sheriff's detectives on Friday searched the house where a 4-year-old girl was found dead last week.

1/28/2005 - HeraldNet: Girl died of blunt force injuries
LAKE STEVENS - Four-year-old Sirita Sotelo died of multiple blunt force injuries to her body, investigators reported Thursday.

1/27/2005 - HeraldNet: Girl's case required secrecy, police say
Snohomish County detectives kept quiet for days about the apparent homicide of a 4-year-old Lake Stevens girl because they feared widespread publicity could undermine their ability to learn the truth.

1/26/2005 - HeraldNet: Death of 4-year-old Lake Stevens girl investigated
LAKE STEVENS - Snohomish County sheriff's detectives are investigating the death of a 4-year-old girl as a homicide.

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Step-mom pleads guilty in girl’s death
A Lake Stevens woman faces six to eight years in prison
Stepmom charged in four-year-old’s death
Woman expected to plead guilty at arraignment today
Heather Ewell, 25, of Lake Stevens, was charged last week with manslaughter in the Jan. 21 beating death...
House passes Sirita’s Law; local woman joins cause
Bill now moves to Senate; supporters look to public for help
Sirita’s Law passes out of House committee
A bill named for a four-year-old Lake Stevens murder victim...
Legislators take up Sirita’s law
One month after 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo of Lake Stevens was beaten to death
Foster dad pushes for Sirita’s law
Sirita Sotelo would have turned five on Saturday, Feb. 1
No arrests in child’s death investigation
The body of Sirita Sotelo, age 4, was laid to rest last week.

Child’s death investigated as homicide

Sirita Sotelo, 4, died Jan. 21 at home in Lake Stevens



Lake Stevens woman guilty in child's death
Thursday, March 24, 2005 : Local News
Snohomish County prosecutors contend that Heather Ewell was overwhelmed by her children; that she snapped and killed her stepdaughter, Sirita...

Woman pleads guilty in death of stepdaughter
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 : Local News
A Lake Stevens woman pleaded guilty today to first-degree manslaughter in the death of her 4-year-old stepdaughter...

Stepmother accused of manslaughter in 4-year-old's death
Tuesday, March 15, 2005 : Local News
A 25-year-old Lake Stevens woman who allegedly beat her 4-year-old stepdaughter to death was charged yesterday with first-degree manslaughter...

Stepmother charged with manslaughter in death of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo
Monday, March 14, 2005 : Local News
A manslaughter charge was filed today against the 25-year-old stepmother of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo, who was beaten to death in...

Examiner, relatives differ in girl's death
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 : Local News
Snohomish County sheriff's investigators say statements offered by the stepmother and aunt of a 4-year-old girl who was beaten to death...

Officials say girl beaten to death
Friday, January 28, 2005 : Local News
A 4-year-old Lake Stevens girl who was found dead in her home last week was beaten to death, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office...

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Child Protection: Talk is way too cheap
Sunday, April 3, 2005. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD. In Olympia, everyone talks about protecting children from abuse. But paying extra for safer kids may be something different. Several tragic deaths last year created considerable momentum for lawmakers' efforts to toughen state laws regarding child protection. Even so, the fate of proposed improvement
Last modified: April 1, 2005

Bid to toughen child abuse laws falters
Thursday, March 31, 2005. Judges and state workers continually place children back in unsafe environments'. By CLAUDIA ROWE. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER. In the past year, two babies starved in Kent with cans of food sitting in their mother's kitchen, a 4-year-old girl in Lake Stevens was killed by her stepmother and other children were shaken to death - all by families long k
Last modified: March 30, 2005

seattlepi.com / KOMO 4 News
Stepmother Pleads Guilty To Murdering Little Girl. By KOMO Staff & News Services. Sirita Sotelo's stepmom struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to manslaughter; she's accused of beating the little girl to death.2005 Fisher Broadcasting. Requires Free QuickTime Player.
Last modified: March 24, 2005

Murdered girl's stepmother pleads guilty
Thursday, March 24, 2005. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF. The stepmother of 4-year-old Sirita Sotelo pleaded guilty yesterday to manslaughter for killing the girl in January in a death police have termed "homicide by abuse. Heather Ewell, 25, struck the Lake Stevens girl so brutally that the child's skull was fractured and her liver severed, according to court papers filed by the
Last modified: March 23, 2005

Woman charged in death of girl, 4
Tuesday, March 15, 2005. By CHRISTINE FREY. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER. Sirita Sotelo's stepmother was accused yesterday of killing the 4- year-old Lake Stevens girl, hitting her so severely that she fractured the girl's skull and severed her liver.Court documents filed in Snohomish County paint a picture of a young woman who struggled to deal with Sirita's addition to th
Last modified: March 14, 2005
No regrets as departing DSHS chief reflects back
Monday, March 14, 2005 · Last updated 5:34 p.m. PT. By REBECCA COOK ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER. OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state won't solve the problem of child abuse until it reduces the number of poor, single women having unplanned pregnancies, Department of Social and Health Services chief Dennis Braddock told The Associated Press
Last modified: March 14, 2005

House approves child-protection bill
Saturday, March 12, 2005. Measure is named for girl who died in father's custody. By CLAUDIA ROWE. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER. Sirita Sotelo lived most of her four years shuttling from one foster home to another, unnoticed except by a few caregivers connected to her case.In January, however, her story attracted widespread attention after Sirita, who had been returned to
Last modified: March 11, 2005

Cause of girl's death found
Friday, January 28, 2005. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF. Sirita Sotelo, the 4-year-old girl who was found dead at a Lake Stevens home Friday, died of blunt-force injury to the head and torso, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said yesterday.Sheriff's deputies are investigating her death as a homicide. No arrests have been made.. Sirita's aunt called 911 to report that the girl Last modified: January 27, 2005 
State had 'big file' on child who died
Thursday, January 27, 2005. Case of 4-year-old in Lake Stevens is investigated. By CLAUDIA ROWE. AND. CHRISTINE FREY. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTERS. A 4-year-old who died last week at her Lake Stevens home had repeatedly come to the attention of state child welfare workers as an alleged victim of abuse or neglect and spent time in foster care before being returned to live
Last modified: January 26, 2005

Girl's death is now a homicide investigation
Wednesday, January 26, 2005. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES. LAKE STEVENS - The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is investigating the Friday death of a 4-year- old Lake Stevens area girl as a homicide.Sirita Sotelo was unconscious and not breathing when sheriff's deputies arrived at a residence on the 2500 block of 101st Avenue Northeast around 11:3
Last modified: January 25, 2005

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