King County prosecutors on Friday charged a 45-year-old woman with second-degree abandonment of a dependent person, accusing her of leaving her adult daughter with disabilities alone inside her impounded car for nine days in February.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Claudine Williams, who suffers from a drug addiction and is currently homeless, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Page Ulrey wrote in charging papers. Williams’ whereabouts are unknown.
Williams’ 28-year-old daughter was found Feb. 14 inside a 2004 Cadillac CTS, which had been towed to a Burien tow yard from a gas station in Kent nine days earlier, according to the charges.
The 28-year-old woman, who weighed less than 70 pounds when she was admitted to Valley Medical Center, suffered extreme dehydration and had sodium levels that were high enough to be considered life-threatening, the charges say. The woman, who has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder, was in imminent danger of dying when she was found, according to the charges.
The woman’s 23-year-old sister called Kent police Feb. 14 to find out where the woman had been taken after Williams’ Feb. 6 arrest in Kent for violating a domestic-violence protection order obtained by Williams’ father, charging papers say. The sister told a police officer that her sibling is unable to walk and has the cognitive abilities of a 2-year-old child.
The officer confirmed Williams’ arrest and noted that the 28-year-old woman wasn’t mentioned in the police report, the charges say.
Dispatchers found an impound record that showed Williams’ car was towed from a gas station in the 700 block of Central Avenue North on Feb. 5, the day before Williams’ arrest for violating the protection order, the charges say.
Williams and her elder daughter had lived with Williams’ father for three years but moved out of his apartment after he obtained the protection order, say the charges, which don’t provide details about when or why the order was issued.
Williams’ younger daughter told police she had spoken with Williams following her release from jail and at that time, Williams claimed not to know where the 28-year-old was, according to the charges.
The younger daughter expressed concerns that her sister could still be in Williams’ car, which prompted the police officer to call the tow company and request that an employee check to see if the woman was still inside, the charges say.
The employee called back a short time later and said he had found the woman and believed she was still alive, according to the charges. Police and medics were dispatched to the tow yard, and the woman was taken to a hospital.
Doctors treated her for hypothermia, dehydration, an acute kidney injury and an injury to her lung, most likely caused by her screaming so hard that air had leaked into her chest cavity, the charges say.
Other family members told police the woman is unable to eat or drink on her own, according to the charges.
Police found a half-full water bottle buried under other items on the car’s rear floorboard. But given the woman’s condition, it’s unlikely she could have reached it, even if she had known it was there, the charges say.
Officers also found a bag of peanuts and two small water bottles near the front passenger seat, but those items would also have been unreachable, the charges say.
Williams told police during an early March interview at a Kent hotel that she didn’t check with the gas station clerks when she found her car missing or ask to call anyone from jail to care for her daughter, the charges say.
Police obtained documents from the state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration that showed Williams was paid a little over $4,800 a month as her elder daughter’s caregiver, according to the charges.