A Pierce County jury has found the state was not responsible for the abuse suffered by two foster children placed with a Central Pierce Fire & Rescue lieutenant and his wife.
The jury reached the verdict Monday in a personal-injury lawsuit brought by the foster children, Haeli Hamrick and Staci Craney, in 2011.
Hamrick and Craney contended the state was negligent for placing them with Scott and Drew Ann Hamrick and for not doing enough to investigate allegations of child abuse later leveled against the couple, who later adopted the girls.
Haeli Hamrick and Craney were young foster children when placed with the Hamricks in 1999. Both are now adults.
In addition to suing the state, Haeli Hamrick and Craney also sued Eatonville police, saying they did not adequately investigate criminal allegations about abuse in the Hamrick household.
The women later settled out of court with Eatonville for $2 million.
State attorneys argued the only people responsible for the abuse were Scott and Drew Ann Hamrick. The jury agreed, awarding Haeli Hamrick and Craney nothing, court records show.
The allegations of abuse came to light in 2011 when the Sheriff’s Department began investigating Scott Hamrick after receiving reports he was sexually abusing some of his children.
Scott Hamrick committed suicide shortly thereafter.
Drew Ann Hamrick later pleaded guilty to tampering with witnesses and unlawful imprisonment and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Prosecutors said she forced two of her children to write letters denying their father was abusing them. They said she also locked another girl in a room for long periods without food, water or access to a bathroom.