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Former foster parents arrested, jailed

Couple held on charges of drug, physical abuse


Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a pair of former Oregon Department of Human Services foster parents earlier this month, charging them with criminal mistreatment and other felonies.

Child abuse detectives say that between 2006 and 2008, Darren Durham and Dawnyle Kaestner forced several children in their care to ingest narcotics at their Forest Grove home. They also withheld medical attention and physically abused one or more of the children, according to court documents. DARREN DURHAM

The arrests capped a criminal investigation that began in February, when four children under 18 were taken from the couple’s home on L’Avenir Terrace.

Authorities are seeking additional information about the activities of Durham and Kaestner, who had more than 50 children in their care between 2001 and 2013 as certified foster care providers with DHS, said WCSO Sgt. Bob Ray.

The couple adopted the four children now in the care of the state.

“If anyone thinks they know of a possible child abuse situation, please call the sheriff’s office or local law enforcement to report it,” urged Ray. “We’re looking for anyone with any sort of information — maybe their kids were over there playing with the Durham kids and they observed something.”

According to Washington County Circuit Court officials, Kaestner, 67, pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including four counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and two counts each of delivery of a controlled substance to a minor and causing a minor to ingest a controlled substance.

Kaestner is being held at the Washington County Jail on $150,000 bail. DAWNYLE KAESTNER

Durham, also 67, pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance to a minor and two counts of causing another person to ingest a controlled substance.

He is being held in the Washington County Jail on $110,000 bail.

Hearings for Durham and Kaestner are scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, at 3 p.m. in Washington County Circuit Court in Hillsboro.

The couple’s DHS certification was revoked in 2013, said Ray.

A Washington County Grand Jury handed down a secret indictment June 3, triggering arrest warrants for the couple, who allegedly caused one or more of their children to ingest Percocet, an addictive prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Several of the adoptees, along with WCSO child abuse Det. John Shipley, testified in front of the grand jury.

On June 9, WCSO deputies stopped and arrested Kaestner and Durham on Pacific Avenue near Mountain View Boulevard, waiting until they’d left their home, Ray said, both for safety purposes and “to reduce any additional trauma on the kids.”

The pair had been served an eviction notice at their property June 6 for non-payment of rent.

Anyone with other information related to Durham and Kaestner can call the sheriff’s office at 503-846-2500.