Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics

Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics

Mother faces abandonment charge after daughter left in car in Kent

Disabled adult woman survived nine days in vehicle in tow yard after mother left car at gas station

A 45-year-old mother faces a second-degree abandonment of a dependent person charge for reportedly leaving her disabled adult daughter in a vehicle where she survived for nine days despite being unable to eat or drink.

Claudine R. Williams remained at-large, as of May 9, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Williams, who is believed to be homeless, is scheduled to appear May 10 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle to be arraigned. A judge issued an arrest warrant April 29 for Williams with bail to be set at $50,000.

The daughter spent nine days in the backseat of a 2004 Cadillac CTS at a Burien tow yard after her mother allegedly abandoned her Feb. 5 in a car parked at a Kent gas station, 720 Central Ave. N., according to charging papers filed April 29. That car was impounded Feb. 5 from the station.

A Kent Police officer took a missing person report on Feb. 14 from a woman who said her 28-year-old severely disabled sister, who has cerebral palsy, had not been seen since Feb. 5. The woman is unable to feed herself and can only drink from certain types of bottles, according to family members.

Officers determined the vehicle had been privately towed at the request of gas station personnel to a lot in Burien. Police contacted the tow company, who then located the woman inside the vehicle. She had been inside the car for nine days alone during near freezing temperatures. A tow company employee told police they do not search vehicles prior to towing but do look inside before impounding a vehicle to make sure nobody is inside.

Officers immediately requested medical aid. Deputes from the King County Sheriff’s Office and King County Fire personnel responded to the tow yard and found the woman in serious medical condition. Paramedics transported her to Valley Medical Center in Renton for treatment.

The woman suffered from sodium levels so high when she was admitted to the hospital that it was life-threatening, according to charging documents. Doctors said that was a result of her extreme dehydration. Doctors were unable to place a tube down her throat because air had leaked out of one of her lungs. Doctors said that was most likely because she had screamed so hard that she had injured her lung, leaking air into her chest cavity.

A doctor who treated the woman told a Kent detective that she recovered after treatment at the hospital and had no known permanent damage, according to charging papers. Because she was hospitalized, doctors were able to treat her for her seizure disorder with medication. The doctor said the woman would have been in imminent danger of dying if she had been left in the vehicle much longer. She weighed only 70 pounds when admitted to the hospital.

The doctor said people could live for about two weeks in the conditions the woman was left in, without food and water, but that everyone is different and the amount of time each person can live without food and water is not the same.

Detectives tracked down Williams at a Kent motel March 2 and talked to her as they investigated the case, according to charging papers. Williams was not in custody. She told detectives at the motel that she and her daughter had to move out of her father’s apartment after he served her with a protection order.

Williams said that the night of Feb. 4 she left her daughter in the car at the gas station and went to a local motel to look for someone she knew. She said she returned to the car and saw her daughter sleeping, but she couldn’t find her keys. She went back to the motel, but didn’t find her keys. When she returned to the car, it was gone.

The mother admitted to police she uses meth and smokes a couple of times a day, according to court documents. She said she was smoking meth around the time her car was towed.

The mother told detectives she had been her daughter’s state-paid care provider for the past 11 or 12 years. She said other family members would take care of her daughter for short periods of time.

The mother received $4,815 per month from July 2021 to February 2022 as the caretaker for her daughter, according to documents police obtained from the Developmental Disabilities Administration of the state Department of Social and Health Services.

As far as who is taking care of the daughter now, a spokesperson for the state Department of Social and Health Services said they can’t discuss client information due to health privacy laws.

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