Death of Hana Grace-Rose Williams

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Hana Grace-Rose Williams (born Hana Alemu, June 19, 1997 – May 12, 2011[citation needed]) was a girl adopted from Ethiopia by an American couple living in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. She died in 2011 of hypothermia, according to an autopsy, and her adoptive parents Carri and Larry Williams were convicted in September 2013.[1][2][3] The adoptive father was later convicted of manslaughter in her death.[1] Carri Williams was convicted of "homicide by abuse" for Williams's abuse and death and was convicted of "first-degree assault of a child" for abusing a second adopted Ethiopian child who survived and testified at her trial.[4][5]


Williams was adopted by Carri and Larry Williams in 2008 through Adoption Advocates International (AAI), an adoption agency based in Port Angeles, Washington. Before being adopted, she lived in Kidane Mehret Children's Home, a Catholic orphanage in Addis Ababa affiliated with AAI.[6][7] After being adopted, Hana was regularly spanked and locked in a closet, denied food as punishment, not allowed to wear clothes, only a towel, and was forced to sleep in a barn and take garden-hose showers outside, according to an affidavit from the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.[2] The affidavit was based on information from the couple's seven biological children, another adopted child, medical experts, and other family and friends.[2]

According to a memorial statement posted by her adoptive parents on the Lemley Chapel website, Williams "enjoyed knitting and crocheting, reading, drawing and various crafts, playing soccer and riding her bicycle." [3] It is possible that she was homeschooled by Carri.[8]

In addition to being the adoptive parents of Williams and an Ethiopian boy, Carri and Larry have seven[9] biological children. At Carri and Larry's trial, their biological children wrote letters saying that their parents were good and had not abused anyone.[10][11]

Media articles about To Train Up a Child book[edit]

Williams's adoptive parents had a copy of the controversial parenting book To Train Up a Child, by Michael Pearl and Debi Pearl, which child development experts say encourages child abuse.[12][2][13] They had also given a copy of the book to an acquaintance, according to investigators.[2][14]

On his website, Michael Pearl issued official responses to the controversy over To Train Up a Child and the deaths of Hana Williams, Sean Paddock, and Lydia Schatz. The responses list quotes from Pearl's book that warn against abuse.[15][16] In an article published after Schatz's death, Pearl explained, "I laugh at my caustic critics, for our properly-spanked and trained children grow to maturity in great peace and love."[17] Pearl has also spoken to the media about the controversy, stating that the 15-inch plastic tubing he recommends in the book is "too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone."[14][18] Pearl stated of the death of Hana Williams, "What her parents did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries and what is taught in the book."[19] A New York Times article notes that some of the Williamses' discipline tactics involve Pearl's book taken to extremes, such as Pearl's advice that "a little fasting is good training."[14] A witness in the trial reported that the Williamses followed the book's recommendations "to use a switch, cold baths, withhold food and force children outside in cold weather as punishment," all of which were used on Williams before her death.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Couple guilty in death of adopted daughter". NY Daily News. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Local News". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Hana Grace-Rose Williams". Lemley Chapel. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Williams Trial: Mother guilty on 3 counts, father on 2". Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Couple convicted in Sedro-Woolley abuse case". 9 September 2013. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "Hana Williams: The tragic death of an Ethiopian adoptee, and how it could happen again". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Prosecutors describe 'house of horrors' in Hana Williams trial". KOMO News. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Hana Grace-Rose Williams". Homeschooling's Invisible Children. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Adoptive parents on trial in Ethiopian girl's death". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ "Decades in prison for Williams couple". Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Father testifies about shame, regret over daughter's death". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Hodson, Jeff. "Did Hana's parents "train" her to death?". Article published Nov. 27, 2011. The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ "Justice is served for Hana Williams' adoptive parents". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  14. ^ a b c Eckholm, Erik. "Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate". Article published Nov. 6, 2011. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  15. ^ "Response to Schatz Case". No Greater Joy website. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Hana Williams Official Statement". No Greater Joy website. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Laughing". No Greater Joy website. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  18. ^ Cooper, Anderson. "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, Aired October 26, 2011". CNN. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  19. ^ Burnett, Thane. "Was child abused to death due to advice from book?". Article published Oct. 8, 2011. Toronto Sun. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  20. ^ Stoll, Lee. "Kids testify in parents' murder and abuse trial". KIRO TV. Retrieved 7 August 2013.

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