Records of foster mother Chornice Lewis’ interactions with the state were obtained by The News Tribune through a public records request to the Department of Social and Health Services.
Spanning more than 800 pages, the documents are difficult to decipher. Many names and details are blacked out. Reports of the same incidents appear in multiple formats, with slight variations in detail.
Cross-referencing and independent research of other public records revealed the identities of many of the individuals mentioned in this story. Other elements, such as the ties between Lewis and her family members, often were unclear. Her documented use of numerous first and last names added a layer of complexity.
Attempts by The News Tribune to reach multiple family members and associates of Lewis were unsuccessful. In many cases, their listed phone numbers and addresses turned out to be incorrect. In other cases, phone messages were not returned.
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The News Tribune also sought comment from Lewis by relaying an interview request to her attorney, Marvin McCoy. McCoy declined the offer.
Additional records compiled for this story came from King County Superior Court, Pierce County Superior Court, the Federal Way Police Department, the King County Recorder’s Office and the Pierce County auditor.
The young woman at the center of this story is not named. The News Tribune typically does not name juvenile crime victims. According to DSHS records, she now resides in a new licensed foster home. the News Tribune does not know the home's location or the foster parent's identity – the information is not a public record.
While developing this story, The News Tribune suggested to DSHS officials that the young woman should be notified about the story's appearance prior to publication, and offered the opportunity to speak for herself if she wished. According to DSHS spokeswoman Kathy Spears, a social worker notified the young woman Wednesday, and planned to visit with her again today - the day of publication.