Mother of three children found in filth faces drug charge

LAKE STEVENS — Legal troubles keep piling up for the mom of three children who were rescued from a filthy Lake Stevens house last month.

Police say the children, ages 7 years, 3 years and 11 months, were abandoned in squalid conditions. There was no food or heat in the home, which was littered with garbage and animal feces. The infant — dehydrated and hypothermic — was found locked in a room alone. The children were placed in protective custody.

Prosecutors have charged Amanda Foley and Mark Dorson, both 32, with multiple felonies in connection with the case. Dorson was released from jail earlier this week after posting bail. Foley remained behind bars. She has told authorities that she is three months pregnant.

The Lake Stevens woman now is facing another felony charge. The drug possession stems from a 2012 investigation into her then-boyfriend, the father of the two older children. Foley pleaded not guilty earlier this week.

A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy reportedly witnessed Foley and the man smoking methamphetamine inside a Lake Stevens garage, according to the court papers filed late last week. The deputy had gone to the house to arrest the man, who had six outstanding felony warrants. He spotted the pair in the garage, sharing a meth pipe.

He knocked on the front door and after a few minutes the man came out of the house carrying one of his children. Foley came out with their other child.

She allegedly told the deputy she was having trouble coping with a death in the family. The couple allowed the deputy inside the house. He found a sunglasses case containing less than a gram of meth inside. He also discovered multiple pieces of stolen mail.

The man admitted that he was responsible for the stolen mail. He was arrested on the warrants. Foley was not taken into custody.

The deputy did not call Child Protective Services, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

“He didn’t feel like the children were in immediate danger at that specific time,” Ireton said.

He also wanted to gain the couple’s cooperation to further the mail theft investigation, she said.

“Taking the children away would not have helped that investigation,” Ireton said.

Foley was living at a different house than where her children were found last month.

The case was forwarded to prosecutors, who declined to file any charges against the man. He had pleaded guilty to another property crime and was facing a three-year prison sentence. A judge gave him a special sentence for drug offenders, allowing him to convert half of his prison sentence to drug treatment. He was released from prison in April. He was allowed to move to Alaska where he is on community supervision until November, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Foley was offered an expedited prosecution based on her lack of significant criminal history and the small amount of drugs involved. She was given the opportunity to pay a $1,000 fine and be on probation for two years to avoid a felony conviction. Foley failed to show up for her court hearing in September 2013. A warrant was issued for her arrest. It’s unclear how long she was on the lam. Foley made arrangements for another court hearing and was in district court Jan. 27, four days before her children were rescued from the house in Lake Stevens.

The expedited offer was revoked and the new drug charge filed once prosecutors learned she had been arrested and is under investigation for abandoning her children.

She and Dorson both have prior felony convictions. Foley graduated from drug court in 2009. Three years later she was convicted of stealing a Ford Explorer. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for a shooting in 2001 in Arlington.

CPS officials have declined to discuss any history with the family.

The older children attended schools in the Lake Stevens School District. Staff and counselors called CPS on Oct. 2, Dec. 9 and Jan. 30 with concerns about the children missing school and the older girl’s health.

It’s unclear if any social workers attempted to contact the family at the house in Lake Stevens where the children were found in squalor.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; Twitter: @dianahefley.

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