Woman accused of trying to have abuse evidence hidden

EVERETT — A Mukilteo woman accused of starving and torturing a 10-year-old girl is facing more legal trouble as her trial nears.

Mary Mazalic now is accused of trying to persuade her boyfriend to hide evidence and to not talk to authorities. Mazalic, 35, has denied abusing the girl.

She already was facing two felony criminal charges based on allegations that she beat and starved the girl, who is her boyfriend’s sister. The girl started living with them in 2010.

The girl was removed from the couple’s house last year after a shop owner called authorities to report that a customer had brought an emaciated girl into the business.

Once Mukilteo police rescued the girl, medical staff discovered that she weighed just 51 pounds — about two-thirds the weight of a healthy child her age. She also had sores on her hands and feet, likely caused from being burned by lit cigarettes.

The child later told authorities that Mazalic beat her while her brother was at work.

She had whip marks across her chest and stomach, and she told investigators that Mazalic would beat her with an extension cord and stuffed a ball or sock in her mouth to stifle her screams.

The girl said the beatings would go on for so long that Mazalic would need to take a break.

Mazalic allegedly threatened to kill the girl and forced her to sleep in a bathtub and take cold showers.

The girl also told investigators that she was forced to go without food even as Mazalic ate fast food hamburgers in front of her.

There was some indication last week that Mazalic might plead guilty to criminal mistreatment and first-degree assault of a child.

During a brief court hearing Friday, her attorney said his client wasn’t going to plead guilty.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul then added a witness tampering charge to those Mazalic already faces.

The tampering charge came after Mazalic was overheard on the jailhouse telephone, where most conversations are monitored, coaching her boyfriend to hide the ball the girl mentioned to investigators. She also told him to not answer questions from police, according to prosecutors.

No charges have been filed against her boyfriend.

Mazalic on Monday pleaded not guilty to the amended charges.

Her defense attorney earlier this year raised questions about whether Mazalic was competent to stand trial.

State doctors concluded that although Mazalic was hostile, tearful and “an unreliable source of personal information,” she doesn’t suffer from a major psychiatric illness that would prevent her from helping her attorney.

Trial is scheduled to begin next week. Mazalic faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

The girl, now 11, remains in foster care. She gained 13 pounds during the two weeks she was hospitalized last year and her physical health has continued to improve, officials said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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