KENT, Wash. - Prosecutors have filed charges against a mother accused of abandoning her daughter in a car, where police found her alive nine days later, in a tow yard in Kent.
Claudine Williams faces charges of second-degree domestic violence abandonment of a dependent person. According to court documents, Williams' father issued a domestic violence protection order against her, prompting her to leave his home with her daughter in her car.
Court documents say Williams left her daughter in a car at a Kent gas station, which was impounded by Skyway Towing on Feb. 5. Williams was arrested for violating the protection order the next day, and then was later released.
On Feb. 14, Williams' other daughter called police, concerned she had not seen her sister since her mother's arrest.
She had spoken with Williams after her release and asked her about her sister, but Williams said she had no idea where she was, court documents say. The sister told police she was concerned that Williams was having mental health issues and may be unfit to care for her sister, who she suspected may still be in the impounded car.
She explained to police that her 28-year-old sister has cerebral palsy, and has the cognitive abilities of a two-year-old and cannot walk on her own, according to court documents.
Police found Williams' arrest information and an impound record for her car, and officers were able to interview Williams, who they described as being ‘extremely difficult to follow.’ Williams allegedly changed what she was talking about and mixed up timelines, according to court documents.
Court documents say Williams was barred from her father's apartment following a domestic violence protection order, so she left with her daughter. Williams told police she was unsure where to go and was turned away from a friend's house in Seattle, so she drove around with her daughter and slept in the car for "a night, going on two nights."
At one point, Williams said she saw someone she knew and left the car at the gas station, accidentally locking her keys inside. On Feb. 4, Kent Police confirm that an officer arrived and unlocked her car.
Williams said they slept in the gas station parking lot that night, but she allegedly lost her keys again, and went to the Kent Valley Motel to look for them. She could not find them and went back, but when she returned her car was gone, having been towed away, according to court documents.
She walked to her father's apartment, and he called the police on her for violating the no-contact order, and she was arrested.
After being released, she told police she was walking the streets with nowhere to go, and her phone was dead. She got her last paycheck and spent it on a motel room, where she was able to call her other daughter, court documents say.
Police asked her why she did not call family members from jail, or talk with the gas station clerks, or use the phone at the gas station, and Williams reportedly did not have an answer. She told police she smokes meth a "couple of times a day," and was smoking around the time her car was towed, and around when she was arrested.
Court documents say when police contacted her brother and father, neither had any idea where her daughter was. On Feb. 14, Skyway Towing searched the car and found the woman still alive in the backseat, covered by clothes and debris. Police and medical personnel arrived and took her to the hospital.
Medical experts say that when the woman arrived at Valley Medical, she suffered from life-threatening sodium levels caused by ‘extreme dehydration.’ Doctors say she was at risk of cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, organ failure and seizures, according to court documents.
Court documents say the woman was at ‘imminent and substantial risk’ of death by the time she arrived at the hospital. Thankfully, she is currently in stable condition and ‘has no known permanent damage.’ Staff were able to get her on seizure medication, and she is in recovery.
The court says Williams' current whereabouts are unknown.