Kimberly Ann Forder called 911 after her 8 year old underweight adopted son, Christopher Forder, died on the bedroom floor of untreated pneumonia in circumstances that a local sheriff called “sheer torture.” The boy’s body was found to be covered with bruises. The family, which homeschooled and home-churched, claimed to be practicing faith healing, that their religious beliefs did not allow modern medicine, and said Christopher had reactive attachment disorder and the bruises were from him scratching himself and throwing himself into walls. Kimberly Ann filed one letter of intent to homeschool in 2003, a year after Christopher’s death, but did not file letters in previous or subsequent years, as required by Washington state. Social workers reported that the family was socially isolated and that after Christopher’s death they found that no one in the home would speak to investigators about it. The Forders had 3 biological adult children and four adopted children in addition to Christopher. After Christopher’s death, the Forders had four months of daily monitoring visits by social workers but did not have the remaining children removed from home due to a legal technicality.
In the four years after Christopher’s death, the Forders adopted a set of Liberian triplets, moved to Liberia to work as missionaries, and took their 7 living adopted children with them. A break in Christopher’s case came when police conducted interviews with the Forders’ eldest adult biological son, 23 year old Michael V. Forder, who was charged with raping another adult biological sibling. Michael V. Forder agreed to testify about Christopher’s death in exchange for a reduced sentence in his own case. Although he later recanted his testimony and was given a full 8.5 year sentence for rape, charges were filed in Christopher’s death. Kimberly Ann Forder was in the United States at the time, receiving medical treatment, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Back in Liberia, Robert Forder dropped off the 7 living adopted children at a WACSN orphanage, which then turned them over to the State Department. The State Department brought the children back to the United States and put them in foster care in Washington state. Robert Forder was not charged with any crimes and remained in Liberia, in poor health. Kimberly Ann was charged with Christopher’s death and arrested, tried, sentenced to 27 months in prison, and was reported to be trying to get her remaining adopted children back upon release.
Date: November 22, 2002
Location: Seabeck, Washington