A woman Oregon officials say neglected her 2-year-old daughter has been charged in Washington state for neglecting and starving her infant son.
King County prosecutors charged Katherine Amanda Mattern with Criminal Mistreatment in the Second Degree – Domestic Violence after doctors discovered her 7-week-old son nearly starved and infected with scabies.
According to charging papers, Mattern had moved from Oregon to Burien in August 2011 to live with mother and stepfather. Mattern was pregnant at the time and had a 2-year-old daughter.
Social workers in Washington state began investigating Mattern in February 2012 after two reports of suspicious scratches on her daughter’s face. Social workers visited their Burien house and found it to be “cluttered, hazardous for a toddler" and "unsanitary.”
Mattern gave birth to her son in late March. Doctors who examined the baby noted the baby’s weight never exceeded 9 pounds throughout the month of April.
By mid May, a doctor concerned about the infant’s failing health referred him to Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered the 7-week-old infant in a state of severe malnutrition and weighed only 7.9 lbs (in the 3rd percentile). He was so malnourished, doctors said it “placed him in jeopardy of starving to death” and “any illness would have been potentially fatal.” Doctors discovered the infant also had an infestation of scabies.
After questioning by doctors, Mattern only said she thought her son looked “a little skinny.”
Mattern claimed to have fed her baby regularly, but doctors' said what she said didn't match the infant’s malnourished state. The infant was admitted to Children’s Hospital, where doctors said his condition has since improved.
Doctors examined Mattern’s 2-year-old daughter and found she had scabies and a MRSA infection. The girl had been spending time with other relatives and appeared to have proper nourishment.
According to charging papers, Mattern had left Oregon after she was investigated by Oregon Child Protective Services, who found there was a credible “Threat of Harm and Neglect” when Mattern admitted to being involved with a registered sex offender who was not allowed to have contact with children.
Bail for Mattern has been set at $200,000.
KING 5's Liza Javier contributed to this report.