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Kotzebue residents indicted on assault charges for allegedly harming children in their care

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:29 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:00 PM AKDT
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Content Warning: This article contains information about alleged assault that might be difficult for some readers.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Two people in Kotzebue have been arrested and face more than two dozen charges for allegedly harming children who were in their care.

Kotzebue residents Mandy Hill, 44, and Abraham Lambert, 35, were arrested and indicted on July 22 with multiple assault charges. The indictment shows they were charged with 11 counts of third-degree assault, nine counts of second-degree assault, four counts of first-degree assault and a count of endangering the welfare of a minor for abuse that allegedly took place between 2015-2019.

According to an online dispatch report, Alaska State Troopers began an investigation after allegations a report of child abuse in Kotzebue. The investigation lasted two years, troopers wrote.

The indictments list several instances of assault on four different children who were in the care of Hill and Lambert. They include allegedly placing their hands on the necks of three children, “stabbing” one of the children with a pair of scissors, binding a child’s hands with a scarf and impeding blood circulation, and withholding food from one of the children.

They were arraigned last Friday at the Kotzebue Courthouse, online court records show, and their next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Online records show that in the past, Hill was employed as a secretary at Kotzebue Middle/High School in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District and Lambert was a coach for the boys basketball team.

Hill and Lambert have not worked for the school district since 2019.

Hill is also listed as having been employed by the City of Kotzebue. A call and email inquiring as to Hill’s employment status with the city were not answered by the time of publication.

A joint article by ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News states Hill had worked with children in Kotzebue for many years. She spoke with the publications in 2019 about the murder of Ashley Johnson-Barr.

“You hold your kids closer,” she told the publications. “You watch more. You kind of hold back on letting them play out.”

According to the troopers dispatch, the agency was assisted by the Office of Children’s Services, Alaska CARES, the Southcentral Foundation and the Kotzebue Police Department.

Resources: If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, resources are available on the Alaska Children’s Alliance and Alaska Children’s Trust websites. To report abuse or neglect, call the state’s hotline at 1-800-478-4444 or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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