As investigative journalists, Voices Network staff has had the opportunity to vet the qualifications of, meet, interview, and listen to testimony of many of the individuals who support Trisha DeLaurent against allegations that she medically abused her oldest son who was diagnosed with, and treated for, complex medical conditions since early childhood. The qualifications and background of witnesses for the defense in the Multnomah County Oregon dependency case is nothing short of phenomenal. Leading experts in psychology, Munchausen Syndrome, Factitious Disorder, and other specialties associated with the case have traveled from within and outside of Oregon to effectively dispute claims made against the accused mother.
One such witness, whom I recently had the opportunity to interview after she testified before the dependency court is Kristen Zajac, an author and former FBI investigator. Kristen Zajac got to know Trisha DeLaurent and her children years ago while collaborating on the children’s book, Isabella’s Aviary. Ms. Zajac was witness to much of the fallout of trauma experienced by the family at the hands of Trisha’s violent ex-husband, William Lance Ulich. She also has an incredibly diverse background that qualifies her to make the assessment she presented today to the Washington DSHS interstate compact placement officials who have agreed to place Trisha’s son “Austin” in a dangerous living situation beginning on Friday, March 9th. At this point, Washington DSHS ICPC staff has stated that they share no liability for the safety of the 11 year old, and that all liability rests entirely with Oregon DHS.
LETTER WRITTEN BY KRISTEN ZAJAC TO WASHINGTON DSHS ICPC PERSONNEL:
**The names of all three children have been [REDACTED] from the letter to protect their identities
My name is Kristen Zajac and I appreciate the opportunity to provide my professional threat and risk assessment expertise regarding the pending ICPC placement of [REDACTED]
COURSE OF ACTION: It is my understanding the State of Washington intends to place 11 year old [REDACTED] in the home of his biological father, William Lance Ulich this Friday, March 9, 2018, despite a lifetime domestic violence protection order protecting [REDACTED], his mother Trisha, and his other siblings from violent actions by his father.
THREAT AND RISK ASSESSMENT: On a threat assessment scale of 1-10, with 1 representing “no risk of domestic violence”, 5 representing a “moderate risk of domestic violence”, and 10 representing “highest risk of domestic violence”, I assess the threat posed to [REDACTED], should he be placed in the home of William Lance Ulich to be a “10-highest risk of domestic violence.” There is a history of severe, court documented, domestic violence perpetrated by William Lance Ulich against his family. In 2015, the King County Washington Superior Court judge issued a lifetime protection order protecting Trisha and her children- [REDACTED]-against the violent actions of William Lance Ulich. Based on his own testimony and a thorough court evaluation, Mr. Ulich was assessed as demonstrating “high lethality risks.” The family received confidential relocation and sealed name changes to protect them from further violence. [REDACTED] has suffered PTSD and undergone intensive counseling to deal with the abuse his family endured at the hands of his father and he has expressed intense fear and trauma from contact with his father. Threat measures are further escalated in this proposed placement due to the intensified risk factors associated with the two adult half brothers who would also be living with [REDACTED] and Mr. Ulich, one of whom has a violent history and has been violent with [REDACTED] previously, and the other has a history of perpetrating sexual molestation against others.
RECOMMENDATION: In my professional opinion, the state of Washington places itself in full liability for subjecting a juvenile to life threatening harm should Washington and Oregon coordinate the placement of [REDACTED] with Mr. Ulich. I am alarmed that this would even be considered given the long-term court documented history of abuse and the child’s own pleas for help and protection from this father to his legal advocates.
MY PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND AND ASSESSMENT OF THIS FAMILY: So that the state has some background on my own qualifications, personal integrity, and knowledge of this family, I am a children’s author and English as a second language teacher. My published books include “Ebeneezer’s Cousin”, “Chasing the Spirit of Service”, “Grandma’s Telescope”, “The Veterans’ Clubhouse”, and “Isabella’s Aviary.” Before becoming an author, I worked as an Intelligence Analyst at the United States Central Command on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida writing threat assessments and doing briefings for CENTCOM leadership. Prior to that I worked at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C. as an Intelligence Analyst in the Counterterrorism Division. I maintained a Top Secret government security clearance for both my positions at the FBI and military. I was awarded a 1997 Presidential Management Fellowship in Washington D.C. and have a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stetson University.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Trisha, [REDACTED] very well in the course of writing a biography about the aviary they founded to raise companion birds for children with disabilities. The children’s book, “Isabella’s Aviary”, was published by Guardian Angel Publishing in December 2016. In researching this book, I have become close to Trisha and her children and consider Trisha a dear friend and an inspirational mother. I have been in frequent contact with Trisha from June 2013 to the present (March 2018) via multiple forms of communication including email, private messaging, phone calls, and Facebook public and private messaging. I also had the privilege of accompanying Trisha and her family on [REDACTED] “Make A Wish Trip” at Animal Kingdom and Disney World on October 25, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. In February 2018, I flew to Portland, Oregon to testify in the family’s jurisdictional hearing.
Words that come to mind in describing Trisha and her parenting style include compassionate, kind, nurturing, authentic, patient, reliable, trustworthy, respectful, and stable. I would like to emphasize respectful because Trisha not only models respect in how she treats the children and others around her, but she shows an admirable “long-term view” of parenting; a commitment to raising compassionate, competent, globally conscious, and productive young citizens. When you talk to [REDACTED], their earnest desire to look out for others and make a difference in this world is truly inspiring. Their tender hearts and fun spirits are a direct reflection of their sweet mama.
While many parents would be overwhelmed by the complicated medical history of the children, especially [REDACTED] neurodegenerative disease, Trisha has sought out the finest medical team in the country to provide exemplary care for her children. She hasn’t let any medical struggles take away the family’s chance for joy and a meaningful life together. In between school and family fun time, [REDACTED], (with the help of Mom), have founded an aviary to raise and train companion birds for sick children and those with disabilities. Each day the kids worked together with Trisha to prepare food for “the flock”, as they call it, and the kids have hysterical stories to share about raising and training the birds to help others. It is a joy to see three siblings so close and united in a purpose and cause bigger than themselves. It is also inspiring to witness Trisha’s loving support and acceptance of each child’s spirit and choices as they all work together to keep the aviary running. In addition to the children’s social and academic development at school, important life lessons and morals have been learned at home as [REDACTED] have raised, cared for, and trained their birds and watched them go to families where they will make a difference as companion birds.
As I got to know Trisha better she confided in me that she was a victim of domestic abuse. I was very worried about Trisha and the children and in close communication as she sought to protect herself and the kids through separation, relocation, and divorce. I remember her call and emails regarding frightening events in July 2014. Trisha feared for her safety and that of the children. Rather than surrendering firearms in compliance with a Domestic Violence Order, it appeared her husband, William Lance Ulich, had hidden the guns. I was alarmed as Trisha updated me on a series of troubling events which happened in close proximity. 1) A judge had blocked a request from her husband to get his tools back. 2) There was an attempted break in at her house. 3) Trisha found a hidden compartment in his tool cabinet concealing guns that were unregistered and that she knew nothing about. The hidden compartment with the guns also contained Trisha’s birth certificate and social security card. Trisha notified the authorities and the local police came and took everything into evidence. I kept in very close contact with Trisha during this entire time period.
I was so thankful Trisha had bravely extricated herself and the children from their domestic abuser through divorce and anonymous identities and relocation with the help of the court. They were so happy together living in safety and healing from the past traumas. I am outraged and heartbroken that they have been subjected to, more or less, attempts at a continuation of the abuse across state lines again in recent times. It is a travesty this family has been torn apart and the children split in different households. I urge Washington to refuse to be a part of any further victimization of this family. Up until now, Washington was the protector of the family and Oregon was the state that divided and re-traumatized the children. I advise Washington to carefully review the complicated facts in the jurisdictional hearing issue and refuse to re-enter the family’s life as anything but a hero. To place [REDACTED] in the hands of his former domestic abuser would be nothing less than breaking this little boy in heart, body, and mind. I request an immediate intervention to ensure this placement does not transpire.
In summary, Trisha is an excellent mother. I have observed her to be a loving, responsible, and highly devoted protector of her beloved children, [REDACTED]. She navigates extremely complicated medical channels with grace, humility, intelligence, and compassion, and has enabled a brighter future for the children due to her hard work in securing the best medical teams and schools for them. Trisha believes in the beauty of her children’s youthful and inspiring dreams and will do everything in her power to keep them safe and happy. I wish this for them too.
The family has endured great hardship to distance themselves from their domestic abuser, Mr. Ulich, and I request that the abuser not be reintegrated with the family on any level or in any form. Mr. Ulich poses great, immediate danger to the family. Should [REDACTED] be placed in residence with Mr. Ulich and his two adult sons, with comparably violent histories, I again assess the level of threat to be a “10” on a 10 point scale- representing the highest risk of domestic violence.
Thank you for your time and I am available for any further questioning or comments. Please fight for [REDACTED] safety. He deserves your advocacy. His mother has worked so hard to protect him and give him a better life. He is a precious child- smart, funny, sweet, energetic, and a bright light in the world, but a light that is at risk of dimming if his hopes and dreams are again thwarted and he finds himself once again in a house of abuse, with no one to speak for him. Don’t let him be further harmed by Mr. Ulich. Be his voice. Be his hero. Keep him safe.