Snohomish Co. woman guilty of starving, beating 10-year-old girl

Snohomish Co. woman guilty of starving, beating 10-year-old girl
Mary E. Mazalic appeared in court via a live video feed on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011.
EVERETT, Wash. - A Snohomish County woman has been found guilty of child abuse after starving and beating her boyfriend's 10-year-old sister for nearly a year.

The Everett Herald reports that 35-year-old Mary Mazalic faces decades in prison after being convicted of first-degree assault of child, criminal mistreatment and witness tampering.

Jurors also concluded Friday that the child abuse crimes were deliberately cruel, the victim was particularly vulnerable and Mazalic had abused her position of trust.

Prosecutors say Mazalic repeatedly beat, starved and burned her boyfriend's younger sister. The girl came to live with the couple in 2010.

According to court documents, the girl was suffering from severe malnutrition, had cigarette burns and "whip cord" injuries all over her body and was suffering from an advanced case of urinary tract infection when she came to the attention of authorities in August 2011.

Police were alerted to the case by a store clerk who'd seen Mazalic with a girl whom she described as rail-thin with a gash in her arm. Officers then took the girl into protective custody.

Mazalic has been taking care of the girl for nearly a year, investigators said, and during that time, allegedly abused her in a number of ways.

The woman often made the girl take off her clothes, then beat her with extension cords, a belt and even a piece of wire, all while gagging the girl with a squeeze ball or a sock to keep her from screaming, detectives said. These beating usually took place in the garage or the basement of the home, they said.

Mazalic often threatened to kill the girl, and even made at least one attempt to do so.

She tried to drown the girl by holding her under water in the bathtub, the documents said, and held a knife to the girl's throat and told her, "I'm going to kill you" to "show her she 'wasn't kidding.'" Mazalic told the girl she'd kill her and dump her body in a lake, and added, "I've done it before and would do it again."

The emaciated girl told investigators she was made to sleep in the bathtub in the basement of the home "hundreds of times," as well as in a tent in the backyard. When she was forced to sleep outdoors, she was not always given a pillow or a blanket, and the doors to the house were locked, she said.

The girl added she could not tell detectives how she'd gotten each of her scars and burns as there had been more beatings than she could count over a long period of time.

While being questioned by police, the girl asked for something to eat, and was given bags of pretzels and popcorn to eat. She then asked for a hot sandwich, detectives said.

Doctors at Providence Hospital in Everett who examined the girl said she "was repeatedly asking for something to eat." They added she was likely deprived of not only food, but also water at home.

"She spent two weeks in the hospital, because the doctors were so concerned that her body would shut down if she ate food without it being in a controlled setting," said the prosecutor. "It's a very serious case. The girl was in very bad shape when she was finally taken away."

The girl weighed just 51 pounds when she was removed from the home, which is about two-thirds the weight of a healthy child her age. She quickly gained about 20 pounds in the month after she was rescued and is now living with a foster family.