Doctor describes finding child in abuse trial
Testimony started Monday in the trial of a 31-year-old Anchorage woman Echo Terry, accused of starving and abusing her adopted children.
The girls were placed in foster care with Terry care in 2011; all four were adopted by her in 2013.
On September 18 of 2014, the eldest of the four girls was found on a trail near the Alaska Native Medical Center.
The woman who found the girl, Dr. Melissa Shein, eventually adopted the girl and her three younger sisters.
Monday, Dr. Melissa Shein testified about seeing the girl on the trail. She said she was out running with a couple of nurses when they saw a girl who looked to be 6 on the trail with a backpack. Dr. Shein said she eventually learned the girl was 10-years-old.
In her testimony, Dr. Shein says she saw some signs that raised a red flag, like a bruise on the girl's temple and an abrasion behind her ear. She and the nurses brought the girl to the hospital.
Dr. Shein said the girl told her she ran away because "her mom had told them that she was going to take them into the woods and leave them there to die and she decided to run away because it would be better to run away than to die".
According to Dr. Shein's testimony, the girl also said, "'My mom says she hates us' and 'I don't understand why she hates us' and she stopped coloring and she looked up and she said, 'because I don't hate her.' So I could see how torn she felt and betrayed because she and her sisters were being treated this way by someone taking care of them."
Dr. Shein said she wanted to be a positive person in the girls' lives. She described the Office of Children's Services as not returning her calls or being helpful when she tried to reach out a few months later with Christmas gifts.
That's when Dr. Shein said she discovered that the girls had been separated and the two younger girls were about to be moved from their foster home. She told the court that's when her family started the process of adopting the siblings. By January of 2015, the girls moved in and were adopted the following year.
The trial continues Tuesday in the case.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.