Firefighter's widow pleads not guilty to abusing daughters

Firefighter's widow pleads not guilty to abusing daughters »Play Video
Drew Anne Hamrich appears Thursday, Aug. 11, in Piece County Superior Court.
TACOMA, Wash. - The widow of a former Pierce County firefighter who was under investigation for sexually abusing his adopted daughters has pleaded not guilty to charges that she took part in the abuse.

Prosecutors filed the charges this week against Drew Anne Hamrick, the widow of Scott Hamrick, a 27-year veteran of Central Pierce Fire & Rescue who resigned in June after the abuse investigation began. He took his own life on June 30.

According to court papers, prosecutors believe Drew Anne Hamrick, 51, not only knew about the alleged sexual abuse of her adoptive daughters, but also physically abused them herself.

Prosecutors say she repeatedly hit the girls at their home in Eatonville, locked up them up without food for days at a time, and made them promise not to tell anyone about the sexual abuse.

But Drew Anne Hamrick's attorney paints a different picture, saying she had no knowledge of any abuse and kicked her husband out of the house when she learned of it.

The attorney also says one of the girls suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, making her difficult to discipline, and that Drew Anne installed locks on their doors for safety reasons.

"She had locks put on all of their doors to prevent someone from getting into their bedrooms, so they would feel secure," says Drew Anne's attorney, Don Winskill. "She told her girls she would make sure that they were protected, that nothing would happen."

Drew Anne Hamrick was ordered held in the Pierce County jail on $100,000 bail. She posted bail Thursday afternoon and was released on the condition that she have no contact with her adopted daughters.

According to court documents, the Hamricks have three adult sons and also adopted five girls, who are now between 12 and 21 years old.

Four of the daughters said they'd been sexually abused by Scott Hamrick, and three said they'd been physically abused by Drew Anne Hamrick.

One girl told investigators Drew Anne Hamrick often locked her in her room with a padlock and kept her inside for several days without food.

The girl also was made to sleep on the room's concrete floor on which she was also forced to defecate. She was initially given a bucket for this purpose, but the bucket was later taken away, she said. Drew Anne Hamrick also kept her puppies in the same room, and the dogs also relieved themselves on the floor, the girl told investigators.

At one point, the girl began sneaking away to a neighbor's home for food and water, detectives said, but when the Hamricks found out, they screwed her windows closed and put plywood over the glass.

The same girl, who is now 14, told investigators Scott Hamrick began sexually abusing her when she was 5 or 6 years old, and continued to abuse her until earlier this year.

Another daughter told detectives Scott Hamrick began sexually abusing her "ever since I can remember," and when the sex abuse allegations surfaced, Drew Anne Hamrick told her, "Why do you hate your dad? It's not like he raped you ... he just touched you." The couple made her promise not to tell anyone, she said, and Scott Hamrick, amid tears, told her he'd kill himself if she did.

A third daughter, who is now 21, said Drew Anne Hamrick "slashed" her with scissors when she was 14 years old, and then used tape to close the wound, the statement said. She added she had a burn on her arm from the time Drew Anne Hamrick threw a hot curling iron at her. The woman and another daughter reported having been beaten with a metal spatula by Drew Anne Hamrick.

The allegations first surfaced when Drew Anne Hamrick told her adult son that her husband "had been cheating on her" with one of their daughters, according to detectives. The man decided to call police.

Drew Anne Hamrick has been charged with two counts of tampering with a witness, unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree criminal mistreatment.

Hamrick’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 26. If convicted as charged, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

As for the adopted daughters, they're now living with one of Hamrick's sons and are said to be doing well.