Sirita Sotelo’s mother sues
Sirita, a four-year-old little girl, was beaten to death by her stepmother, Heather Ewell after wetting her pants on Jan. 21, 2005.
The suit is for unspecified damages and alleges that the Department of Social and Health Services, its various agencies and Catholic Community Services of Western Washington failed to properly investigate the home of Sirita’s father, John C. Ewell before placing Sirita in his home.
Sirita was born addicted to cocaine through drug abuse from her mother, Patricia Sotelo. She was placed in many foster homes until Ewell was awarded custody in 2003.
In 2007 the Legislature approved “Sirita’s Law” to help better protect children from abusive parents. Governor Christine Gregoire signed the law last May.
The law requires that DSHS conducts background checks on all adults living in the home and takes measures to insure that the child will be safe before returning to the home including support for any and all adults living there.
This includes drug and alcohol addiction treatment, anger management or other parenting classes.
Heather Ewell is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter for Sirita’s death.
The City of Lake Stevens has dedicated a Tot Lot play area at Lundeen Park to the memory of Sirita.