SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Woman Arrested on Multiple Counts of Offenses Against Children


May 20, 2011

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Anchorage Police arrested a 50 year-old woman following an 8 month investigation into alleged criminal offenses against her adopted children. Anya James was arrested Tuesday and charged with 10 counts of kidnapping and 6 counts of assault in the first degree.

In early October 2010, APD Detective Chris Thomas received information and was assigned to investigate an alleged claim of child abuse against four of James’ children who were living in her home.

The Anchorage Police Department investigation revealed between 2000 and 2010, James fostered and adopted six children, collecting over $750,000 in adoption subsidies from the State of Alaska. James moved from the Eagle River area to a home on the Anchorage Hillside in 2001. James homeschooled her adopted children and severely restricted their contact with the outside world.

All of the children were allegedly subjected to years of emotional and physical abuse. They were confined to small rooms with doors and windows alarmed to notify James if the children tried to escape. James also had video and audio monitors so James could monitor the children’s activities and conversations. Inside the rooms, the children were forced to toilet in a kitty litter bucket, despite three working bathrooms in the home.

James also allegedly restricted their diets which led them to become severely malnourished, stunting their growth and preventing them from going through puberty during their teenage years. Several of the children removed from James’s house in October 2010 were so malnourished they had to be hospitalized according to information released by the Anchorage Police Department.

James was booked into the Anchorage Jail Tuesday and arraigned in state Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. She is being held at the Anchorage Jail on $100,000 bail, with requirements for a third-party custodian and no contact with her adopted children or any minors under age 16.

According to, James’ attorney says not to rush to judgment because the whole story hasn't been told.

The Department of Health and Social Services and the Office of Children’s Services said in a prepared that that they are cooperating with law enforcement in the full investigation and prosecution of the charges filed against Anya James.

“The children are safe now and their physical and emotional needs are being closely monitored,” said Christy Lawton, director of the Office of Children Services. “We are deeply disturbed by the events that led to these charges. The allegations raise some serious questions and we will be working with Anchorage Police to investigate this fully.”

Quoting the release, "The department [Health and Social Services] shares the concerns of the public and the media, but the Office of Children’s Services is unable to answer specific questions about the case at this time because the investigation is ongoing."

Detectives believe James may have adopted additional children prior to the year 2000. If you have any information about children living in the James home before 2000, call Anchorage Police Detective Chris Thomas at 786-2628.



To report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect, call the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services at 1-800-478-4444. After hours or weekends, if you believe a child is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement agency.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation of criminal wrongdoing. All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty by a court of law.


Sources of News: 

Anchorage Police Department

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services


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Ketchikan, Alaska