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June 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Burien woman accused of starving her infant son

A 23-year-old woman who prosecutors say moved to Burien while she was being investigated by child-welfare officials in Oregon for neglecting her young daughter has been charged in King County with neglecting her newborn son.

Katherine Amanda Mattern became the target of an investigation by Washington State Child Protective Services workers in February after her daughter suffered scratches to her face, according to charges filed in King County Superior Court.

The Burien home where Mattern was living at the time is described in charging papers as cluttered and unsanitary. The mother and her then-1 1/2-year-old daughter moved in with Mattern’s mother, stepfather and Mattern’s young sisters, ages 7 and 9, in August, according to a King County Sheriff’s Office report, which is included in the charges.

In March, Mattern delivered a son. On May 15, doctors at Seattle Children’s hospital contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report concerns that the newborn was failing to thrive, charges said. The baby boy had dropped weight and was in the third percentile for growth, weighing in at just 7 to 9 pounds, charges said. The infant was also suffering from a rash and scabies, something his mother said he had endured for nearly two weeks, charges said.

Mattern told doctors she thought her son looked a “little skinny,” charges said. Hospital staff said that while her child was there, she did not feed him.

Mattern is being charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment, domestic violence. She faces a potential sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.

Doctors examined Mattern’s now 2-year-old daughter and found that she too had scabies, charges said.

In January, child welfare officials in Oregon determined Mattern was a “threat of harm and neglect” to her daughter. In Oregon, she had been “involved with a registered sex offender who is not allowed to have contact with children,” the King County charges said.

King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson said that the King County Sheriff’s Office report she reviewed “portrays a bleak existence for the victim and his 2-year-old sister.”

Mattern has not been charged in connection with any alleged abuse to her daughter. Gregson said that it’s still under review.

Both children have been removed from Mattern and are in state care, said Chris Case, spokeswoman for Child Protective Services. Mattern was arrested this morning, Gregson said.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Burien, child abuse, criminal mistreatment

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