Kotzebue couple charged with assaulting and starving children in their care

The city of Kotzebue during spring break up. May 28, 2020.

A Kotzebue couple has been arrested and charged with two dozen felonies for harming children in their care, according to court documents.

Last Thursday, a grand jury indicted 44-year-old Mandy Lee Hill and 35-year-old Abraham Lambert on 24 counts of assault and one count of endangering a child.

Lambert and Hill had a history working with children. Lambert coached the Kotzebue High School boys basketball team and was an employee of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District. Hill had worked for the school district in the past and recently worked for the City of Kotzebue, though she is no longer employed there.

School officials did not respond to phone calls about whether Lambert was still an employee of the district. 

Alaska State Troopers say they received a report of child abuse in 2019 and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Technical Crimes Unit and Major Crimes Unit began a two-year investigation. Court documents detail the physical assault of four different children that occurred between 2015 and 2019. Investigators say Lambert was the father of the four children who were all under the age of 12. 

Among the charges, Hill and Lambert are accused of stabbing a child in the knees and abdomen with scissors, stomping on a child’s feet and violently putting their hands on three children’s necks. They’re also accused of binding a child’s hands with a scarf, harming their blood circulation, and withholding food to a child who was legally in their care. 

Troopers say they conducted the investigation with help from the Office of Children’s Services, Alaska CARES, Southcentral Foundation and the Kotzebue Police Department. 

Both Hill and Lambert are currently in custody at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome. Their next court appearance is scheduled for September 8. Attorneys for Hill and Lambert did not respond to requests for comment.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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