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June 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Jailed Burien woman accused of starving baby threatened by other inmates

A 23-year-old woman accused of starving her 2-month old son did not appear for arraignment this morning because of concerns about her safety.

Katherine A. Mattern has been held in solitary confinement at the King County Jail since shortly after her June 5 arrest because other female inmates have threatened her, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Mattern has been charged with criminal mistreatment.

This morning’s hearing at the Maleng Regional Justice Center  in Kent has been postponed until Monday so she can be arraigned individually, instead of during a large multi-defendant arraginment calendar, prosecutors said. One prosecutor said that the threats stem from Mattern’s alleged crime.

Officials at the jail could not be reached for comment.

Mattern moved to Burien last year while she was being investigated by child-welfare officials in Oregon for allegedly neglecting another child, a daughter, according to the King County charges. Mattern became the target of an investigation by Washington state Child Protective Services (CPS) workers earlier this year after her daughter suffered scratches to her face, according to charges filed in King County Superior Court. In March, Mattern gave birth to a son.

On May 15, doctors at Seattle Children’s hospital contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office to report concerns that Mattern’s younger child was failing to thrive, charges said. At just 7.9 pounds, the baby had lost weight and was suffering from scabies, charges said.

Less than two weeks after his birth, the boy had weighed 8.1 pounds, charges said.

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

Mattern faces a potential sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.

Both children have been removed from Mattern and are in state care, according to state child welfare officials.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: child abuse, King County Jail, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

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