- January 25, 2005
A Grave Memorial
of Sirita, who love her very much!
was a sweet little
girl. She loved music and she loved to dance. She knew she could always
delay bedtime another 5 minutes by asking to see Mars; she could point
it out in the southern sky. I was so proud, because I had taught her
our glasses together and drinking root beer floats. I called her
She liked it, and sometimes called me “Boo-Boo.” I said no, you are
Mommy is Moo-Moo, and I am Ugu-Moo-Goo. She liked sitting on my
waving the flag while I danced around the house humming “Stars and
had a beautiful
voice and picked up songs very quickly, often after only hearing me
them once. She was a real fashion princess, she liked getting dressed
in outfits with her hair done up with hair pretties. She was smart, she
was pretty, she was wonderful and we were lucky to have her in our
rights of her mother, Patricia Sotelo. At that time, Sirita's father,
C. Ewell, came forward and said that he wanted her to live with him and
his wife, Heather B. Ewell. After a home study was done and a service
was complete in which John underwent drug and alcohol tests, parenting
classes and weekly visits with Sirita as well as a psychological
on November 21 of 2003, Sirita went to live with her father, stepmother
and four other children.
with Cocaine in her system and the result of an extramarital affair,
had a tough beginning to her short life.
away from her birth mother, after her birth, due to her use of drugs.
her lifetime, she would be reunited with her mother on several
only to be once again taken away and placed in foster care. Sirita's
father was not involved in her life at all during this time. Sirita's
was not able to overcome her drug use and she also had
May of 2003, based
on the the amount of time that Sirita had been in the care of the
the failed attempts to place her back with her mother and the fact that
her father had not been in her life at all, the state filed papers to
12 months after
her placement, the department made visits to their home and provided
management. Several visits were made and it was determined that
was needed, though it was never provided. CPS had no concerns about the
placement, though John told them that Sirita seemed to be having
in her knew
home. During a visit on December 8, 2003, John told a Catholic
Services worker that Sirita and their youngest child would fight a lot.
seemed to feel
that part of the problem with Sirita was that she was allowed to go
with her mother every week. John said that after the visits, Sirita
come home with a bad attitude and that she would not talk to them.
to John, Sirita started to throw fits at that time and stopped wanting
to be around the other children.
were discussed at a meeting with the Guardian Ad Litem. A report dated
January 5, 2004, said:
to Sirita’s current acting out behavior, I strongly recommend
services be made
to John and Heather Ewell so that they are able to help Sirita adjust
and family and to adjust to visits with her mother"
March, the notes
on the case show that Sirita was settling down a bit better in the
Notes also indicated that she was settling down and that her behavior
improved. Information provided also said that while Sirita and the
child still had a few problems and noted that they were not as frequent
as they had been. The notes concluded saying that as long as Sirita is
allowed contact with her biological mother, she would continue to have
problems. John had said that he was going to look into getting
for Sirita to help her deal with all she was going through.
May 14, 2004,
a health and safety visit showed that Sirita was adjusting even better
to her new home. The caseworker said that she appeared to feel safe and
much more relaxed than when she visited with her mother. The caseworker
noted that there were still problems with Sirita since she lied a lot
went into fits. The recommendation was that the family receive
and that a school assessment be made for Sirita. John was to check into
the schooling and the case worker would handle the counseling. The
court report submitted
by the caseworker on in August of 2004 states:
has been successful and the Department does not have any concerns about
would warrant continued involvement in her life, except for the issue
and her mother"
November of 2004,
the department determined that Sirita was in a good place and custody
granted to John and Heather. On January 22, 2005, CPS would realize
they had made a HUGE mistake.
called CPS to report a suspicious death of a child. That child would
out to be Sirita. According to reports, Heather Ewell had called poison
control stating that Sirita had gotten sick after she ate a glue stick
solvent of some kind. Later in the evening she had checked on her and
was dead. Nothing was found in her system that backed up the glue gun
She would later change her story and say that Sirita had fallen
and hit her head. That story would also prove to be a lie.
called to the home and noticed that Sirita seemed to be malnourished
pale. A medical examiner determined that her death was caused by blows
to her head which had caused her skull to fracture and she also had a
liver. Heather would later admit that she wasn't able to handle the
that Sirita had been
had put her into a cold shower and beat her after she had wet her pants.
God that it was an accident. I didn't want to hear somebody caused harm
I just don't understand"
come to be known that during her own life time, Heather had been
by her own mother, abused by her father who was addicted to drugs and
when she was a child. Heather had her first child when she was in the
grade and by age 25 she was raising four children that were her own and
one child, Sirita, that was the result of her husbands affair with
had not bothered
to do a background check on John or Heather. IF they had, they
have found out about Heather's troubled past and that of John. Reports
would have shown that one of the children in their home was at risk of
losing their place at preschool due to a lot of missed days. That child
always seemed to be afraid and spoke very little. CPS would have also
about alleged reports of drugs being sold out of the home. John and
had also been allowing one of their children to stay overnights with
who was suspect of physically abusing Sirita.
office of the
Family And Children's Ombudsman conducted an investigation of the
Of Children And Family services and the case involving Sirita and her
A review was done of all of the records, treatment reports,
evaluation and procedures and state laws that applied to this case. The
reason for the their
to determine if DCFS had complied with all of the policies set in place
to protect children and to see if and where any improvements could be
in policy that would help to better protect children.
charged with manslaughter, though oddly, she was not arrested or taken
into custody, immediately. Heather plead guilty to the charge. The
children in the home were removed for their own protection.
George Bowden listened to testimony in court. Heather stood before him
and read a statement after she was found guilty:
were to help Sirita, never to harm her in any way. I tried so hard, but
every day, never smiled"
during the 14 months that Sirita had been with them the conditions
improve and had in fact become more and more difficult for her, every
She was overwhelmed with having to take care of five children, school
and other factors that caused her stress in her life. Heather also
up the fact that the case worker had never arranged for counseling as
had said she would:
times for counseling, but it was never granted. I loved Sirita just
went on to
talk about the night Sirita died:
that I lost it; my mind went blank. Despite all these things that
know I am
responsible for my actions"
Mark Mestel asked for leniency for her, wanting her sentence to be
four and six years:
woman who never intended to hurt anyone"
attorney, Craig Matheson said that way Sirita had died was appalling:
anyone could be so depressed, so angry they would commit the acts
that the defendant did in this case"
agree with Heather's lawyer and sentenced her to eight and a half
not at all concerned with what Heather had been through in her life:
that it serves as a justification or excuse for what happened"
foster father, commented after the sentencing. He and his wife had been
the foster parents of Sirita before she had gone to live with her
by drugs from birth to death"
much ready for it. She's a good woman.
a good mother"
and Magda decided
that they needed to do something to help protect children. They worked
hard to get new legislation passed and they were successful:
for my little girl, but there are thousands more children at risk
If the death of my daughter is what it takes to change the law - the
was too high"
totally agree with
Jimmina Sotelo - Please Visit This Site To
Learn About Sirita's Law
occurred in the
state of Washington
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