By SCOTT NORTH
Linda David’s face was not marred by scar tissue, bruises or other possible signs of physical abuse when she and her husband met with a state social worker in Tacoma in 1993, the official testified Wednesday.
Harlan Eaglebear, who was the state Department of Social and Health Services caseworker for Linda David during the mid-1990s, told a Snohomish County jury that she appeared medically frail, but was not physically traumatized when he met her briefly seven years ago.
The woman showed none of the damage that was found in 1997 when she was removed from a filthy sailboat that was moored off Everett, Eaglebear told jurors.
"She looked no different than you or I," he testified.
Linda David’s husband, Victor David, 60, of Marysville, is now on trial in Snohomish County Superior Court, charged with second-degree assault.
Prosecutors allege Victor David battered his wife in secret for years while hiding her away on the dilapidated vessel the couple shared with up to seven German shepherd dogs.
Eaglebear told jurors that he first met the Davids after he was assigned their case in April 1993. He was told to perform a face-to-face assessment of Linda David to determine if she should continue receiving state subsidized services. The state had for years been paying Victor David about $500 a month to provide in-home care and chore services for his wife.
The social worker said the David case was one of nearly 150 that he was working on, and it was not until August that he finally met with the Davids, who then were living on their boat, moored on the Tacoma waterfront.
Victor David had been resistant to the meeting, but he called late one Friday in September 1993 and agreed to bring his wife to meet the social worker in a parking lot, Eaglebear testified.
The meeting was difficult for a number of reasons, Eaglebear said. Victor David attempted to control the interview, answering most of the questions the social worker put to his wife while she remained seated in their pickup.
Eaglebear said he also was kept several feet away from the vehicle by the pack of barking dogs that the Davids had brought with them. The social worker said he was frightened by the animals.
Eaglebear is an important prosecution witness because he is one of the few people who is documented as seeing Linda David in the years immediately before she was removed from the boat.
Under questioning by deputy prosecutor Kathy Patterson, the social worker said he saw no signs of abuse, and insisted he would have reported problems if they had been present.
David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, got Eaglebear to admit that he actually saw little of Linda David that day because of the circumstances. Hershman also managed to remind jurors about medical reports dating back to 1979, that showed Linda David had a broken nose and other injuries.
Eaglebear repeatedly testified that he saw no evidence of trauma.
Linda David’s face is now covered with scars, her ears are cauliflowered, her arms contorted by untreated fractures and her eyes are virtually blind.
Victor David contends Linda David hurt herself falling on the boat and in other mishaps because she has multiple sclerosis. She now lives at a Snohomish County nursing home.
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