Foster mom: Immanuel was thin and terrified

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. —

On Day 18 of the Skagit murder and abuse trial, a foster mom said an abused boy was bone-thin when she took him in.

Larry and Carri Williams are accused of assaulting their adopted son and killing their adopted daughter.

Sheila Jackson, who is deaf, says she could barely feed Immanuel Williams enough food when the deaf boy came to live with her in 2011.

"He ate fast. He ate a lot. He ate more than I expected," said Jackson.

CPS had removed the Ethiopian boy and seven other children from Larry and Carri Williams' Sedro Woolley home.

The parents were charged with assaulting Immanuel and killing their adopted daughter Hana. She froze and starved to death in the back yard a few months earlier.

They could face life in prison if convicted.

Jackson said Immanuel was terrified to talk about the couple.

"He would cry," she said.

Jackson said the boy was so thin, she could see his ribs. He gained 20 pounds in the first year. His body was covered in marks.

"They looked like scratches. They were not really that visible. They were starting to fade," said Jackson.

Immanuel, now 12, testified the Williamses hit him and Hana with belts and switches.

He says they were fed frozen food and slept in closets as punishment for misbehaving.

The defense says Immanuel continued to misbehave in Jackson's home. He hit and bit her daughter.

"Your daughter went to school looking so beat up that her teacher actually called CPS, right?" asked Larry Williams' attorney, Rachel Forde.

"Yes," said Jackson.

Trudy Wise has been a foster parent for 25 years and fostered three of the Williams children after their parents' arrest.

She can't talk about the case but says the transition is traumatic for every child.

"Each one comes with their own set of hurts and their own strengths and weaknesses," said Wise.

Jackson says Immanuel is in counseling and his behavior is improving.