Kotzebue couple charged with severe child abuse

·2 min read

Jul. 29—A Kotzebue couple has been charged with more than two dozen felonies for allegedly severely abusing children in their care over a four-year period.

On July 22, a grand jury indicted Mandy Hill, 44, and Abraham Lambert, 35, with 25 counts of assault and endangering child welfare.

The charging document alleges that the couple abused multiple children in their care between 2015 and 2019, withholding food, stomping on a child, choking a child and stabbing a child with scissors, among other severe abuse. The couple caused "serious physical injury," to at least one of the children, the charges say. One child was starved to the point it "caused protracted impairment" to their health, the documents allege.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation began looking into allegations against the couple in September 2019 after receiving a report of abuse, the Alaska State Troopers said in a release. The children involved are biological kids of Lambert but not Hill, prosecutor Bailey Woolfstead said at a bail hearing.

Both Hill and Lambert had worked around children.

In 2019, interviewed about her involvement in a memorial for Ashley Johnson Barr, a young Kotzebue girl found murdered, Hill told the Daily News and ProPublica that she'd worked with children in Kotzebue for 16 years. Her positions had included school secretary, she said at the time.

Lambert has worked in maintenance for the Northwest Arctic Borough School Department and coached the Kotzebue High School basketball team, according to a report from KOTZ Radio.

At the bail hearing, Lambert said he had most recently been working as a night watchman and Hill said she'd been working for the city of Kotzebue.

Both were arraigned on July 23 and remain in a Nome jail on bail set at $100,000.

An attorney for Hill didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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