Report of witness tampering in Island County child abuse case

An 11-year-old boy accused his stepfather of beating him and being a serial killer.

By Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

An 11-year-old boy ran to deputies for help and claimed he was being abused and continually threatened by his stepfather, who he believes is a serial killer, according to court documents.

In front of deputies from Island County Sheriff’s Office, both the stepfather and the boy’s mother attempted to stop the boy from speaking with law enforcement, a deputy’s report states.

A concerned deputy took the boy into protective custody and handed him over to Child Protective Services, the report states. Both the sheriff’s office and CPS investigated the case.

Based on the reports from the two agencies, prosecutors charged the stepfather, 53-year-old David A. Elm, in Island County Superior Court July 23 with assault of a child in the third degree and intimidating a witness. The charges were filed as domestic violence crimes.

In addition, prosecutors charged Carlyn L. Roberts, 34, with tampering with a witness, also a domestic-violence crime.

The investigation began after a Fort Casey Road resident reported to police that a little boy had come to his door, carrying a teddy bear and looking scared. The responding deputies found a truck on the side of the road, along with Elm, Roberts and the boy. The truck had run out of gas and Roberts, who was intoxicated, had kicked out the windshield, a deputy’s report states.

In front of two deputies, Elm “angrily got into” the boy’s face and threatened to beat him, the report states.

“It seemed highly inappropriate and highly intimidating in nature,” the deputy wrote.

Roberts told the boy not to be a rat or a snitch and spoke over him, “presumably to shush him,” the report states. Elm also sarcastically taunted the boy by telling him, “I’ll see you later, buddy.”

Roberts also told a deputy that Elm was being followed by drones and tracked by the feds.

The deputies transported the family to the Coupeville boat dock so they could row out to a anchored boat they had been living on. The boy refused to go to the boat, saying he didn’t feel safe, and a deputy took him into protective custody. The boy said he didn’t have anything to eat that day, so the deputy took him to McDonald’s and spoke with him.

The boy told the deputy that Elm hits him every day and also abuses Roberts in front of him, the report states. He said Elm regularly threatens to kill him, saying things like he was going to wrap an anchor around his foot and throw him overboard. The boy said he believes Elm will kill him and that Elm told him he is a serial killer, the report states.

The report describes a previous incident in which the boy rowed to shore by himself to escape from the boat, but the incident was handled by a different deputy, the report indicates.

The boy was taken to a pediatrician who found a large bruise on his ribs and bruises on his legs; the boy told the doctor that Elm had punched him, which was consistent with the injuries, the report states.

Both Roberts and Elm denied that the boy was being abused. Elm said he has a history of making up stories, the deputy wrote.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.

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