Foster mom accused of beating 2-year-old boy in her care

SEATTLE -- King County prosecutors claim Tonja Maciolek repeatedly assaulted the boy during the 10 months he was in her care. Maciolek, 47, is alleged to have broken the boy's arms, battered his body and failed to feed him.

When the boy arrived at Seattle Children's hospital in August, his elbow was broken in several places, his body was covered in bruises and he was "severely underweight," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said in charging papers. Maciolek couldn't explain any of it.

"The defendant had no explanation for the bruising other than to say the victim was clumsy," Carlstrom said in charging papers.

Speaking Thursday, a Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman said Maciolek was licensed as a foster parent at the time of the incident. She remains so, though a state investigation is ongoing.

Maciolek is alleged to have broken one of the boy's arms on separate occasions. Writing the court, a Kirkland detective said the boy also suffered a serious head injury during one of the beatings.

The boy was first examined by doctors on May 10, when Maciolek brought him to Evergreen Hospital with a broken elbow. The detective noted the boy told one doctor that "Mommy did it."

Apparently left in Maciolek's care, the boy returned to Evergreen on Aug. 14 with a head injury. According to charging papers, Maciolek told staff there she believed he may have fallen and hit his head.

Due to the severity of his injury, the boy was then rushed to Children's, where he was put in the intensive care unit. Staff there discovered bruises all over his body and contacted police.

Questioned by police moments after her foster son was wheeled into the ICU, Maciolek called the 2-year-old a "brat" and said he'd hurt himself, the detective said in charging papers. She is alleged to have later admitted to pulling on the boy's arm.

"I didn't intend on breaking anything," Maciolek told police, according to charging papers.

Investigators determined the boy had been healthy and un-bruised earlier on the day he was hospitalized. He spent much of the day in daycare before returning home with Maciolek, whose husband was out of town at the time.

In addition to his injuries, the boy's weight concerned doctors. He weighed 21 pounds when he was admitted to the hospital, placing him in the bottom 1 percent for his age.

Following his hospital stay, the boy was placed with another foster parent. The boy told that woman his "mommy" - presumably Maciolek - banged his head into a wall on one occasion and twisted his arm until it broke on another.

"It hurt bad," the boy told her, according to charging papers.

Neither the new foster parent nor hospital staff saw the boy fall or injure himself, as Maciolek contended he had. He began gaining weight immediately after arriving at the hospital, and had put on 10 pounds in the three months after the incident.

Charged with two counts of second-degree assault of a child, Maciolek faces 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 years in prison if convicted as charged. She has posted bond on $75,000 bail and has not been jailed.