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Seabeck woman sentenced to 27 months in prison

Kimberly Forder, formerly of Seabeck, is led out of a Kitsap County Superior courtroom Friday after receiving the maximum sentence of 27 months for second-degree manslaughter in the 2002 death of her adopted son.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kimberly Forder, formerly of Seabeck, is led out of a Kitsap County Superior courtroom Friday after receiving the maximum sentence of 27 months for second-degree manslaughter in the 2002 death of her adopted son.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

With eyes cast downward, Kimberly Ann Forder listened quietly as Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Sally F. Olsen sentenced her to 27 months in prison at Friday’s hearing.

Forder, formerly of Seabeck, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the 2002 death of her adopted son, Christopher Michael Forder. The 45-year-old was charged in Kitsap County Superior Court in 2006 with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter, but agreed to the plea agreement Feb. 21 and pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, according to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Montgomery, who handled the case.

Second-degree manslaughter carries with it a sentence range of 21 to 27 months. Olsen opted for the maximum penalty allowed by law.

Forder will be sent to the state women’s prison in Purdy, but could be released in a matter of months. Forder already served 18 months in Kitsap County Jail and may be eligible for reduced time because of good behavior. Her attorney, Roger Hunko, said Forder has been a “model inmate” while in Kitsap County Jail.

“She’s pretty much served her sentence,” Montgomery said.

Forder and her husband, Robert, lived in the 2600 block of Northwest Four Wheel Drive in Seabeck at the time of Christopher’s death in 2002 with their three biological children and four adopted children, including Christopher whom they adopted from Oregon at the age of 4.

Christopher died of pneumonia Nov. 24, 2002, according to the county coroner’s office. Kitsap County detectives said the young boy’s body was heavily bruised, but they could not uncover enough information to make an arrest at that time.

“How did this bruising occur? We’ll probably never know,” Montgomery said at Friday’s sentencing hearing.

Years later, Forder’s eldest biological daughter came forward with information regarding her adopted brother’s death. She told detectives that Forder had starved and beaten Christopher daily for four years and would throw him into a shed where the family kept its ducks as a form of punishment and left him there for several days. The 8-year-old boy also was forced to wear diapers and sleep in a crib and, at times, had to wear soiled diapers on his head as punishment. Forder’s eldest biological son confirmed much of what his sister told detectives in regard to Christopher’s death.

Montgomery said based on the evidence at hand, the prosecutor’s office decided the plea agreement was a good option to close the case. She added that there was “some credibility issues with testimony” and the plea to second-degree manslaughter means Forder “admitted that she should have sought medical treatment for him (Christopher).”

“There’s no question she pled guilty,” Hunko said. “What she pled guilty to was that she didn’t seek help for her son when she should have. Ms. Forder did not receive medical attention soon enough and her child died.”

Hunko and Forder’s family told Olsen that Christopher was a troubled child who abused himself. Hunko added that “pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in little children” and many parents do not get their children to the hospital soon enough to receive adequate treatment.

“They knew that he had been sick for days. He was a very sick little boy for quite some time,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery showed Olsen autopsy photos of Christopher and the judge said the boy was heavily bruised and concluded that Forder should receive the maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter.

“Looking at these pictures, I can’t help but be saddened,” Olsen said. “It’s bruising beyond belief.”

While the courtroom was filled with Forder’s family members Friday, Montgomery pointed out a sad reality.

“I don’t believe there’s anyone in this audience here for Christopher Forder,” Montgomery said turning to the crowd. “Not a one.”

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