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Palmdale woman adopted children despite complaints

Ingrid BrewerA Palmdale woman who was arrested in January on suspicion of torturing her foster children was allowed to adopt despite numerous complaints.

Ingrid Brewer pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts, including torture, cruelty and assault with a deadly weapon at her arraignment Jan. 18. Her attorney, alternate public defender Hung Phi Du, declined to comment.

She was charged after a boy and girl who were in Brewer’s care were found bruised and beaten last month on a street without winter clothes, huddled under a blanket in 20-degree weather.

The children had run away to escape abuse, authorities said.

After Brewer's arrest, county investigators uncovered a history of child maltreatment investigations involving Brewer going back to 2001, when callers to a hot line twice reported that she was abusing her two biological children.

Both times, social workers concluded that the allegations were unfounded. After visiting Brewer's Palmdale home while assessing her application to adopt the children, the social worker reported that the girl, now 7, and her half-brother, 8, appeared stiff in Brewer's presence and had to ask permission to do anything. The girl told a social worker she was scared.

Despite that report, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services looked no further and contact with the family was soon terminated.

Even before the adoption was finalized, the county's own files contained at least nine investigations of alleged abuse involving Brewer going back a dozen years, according to a person familiar with the investigation who provided a detailed account to The Times.

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-- Ann M. Simmons and Garrett Therolf

Photo: Ingrid Brewer.  Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

 
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