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UPDATE: Idaho Foster Child/Felon Set to Return to Court 

"Apparently something happened in the past couple of weeks. I just received an email that he had been taken into custody. That's all we can say right now."

Kallen Hazel, 18, is slated to reappear in a Valley County courtroom Monday, July 18.

Adam Rosenlund

Kallen Hazel, 18, is slated to reappear in a Valley County courtroom Monday, July 18.

UPDATE: July 19, 2016

The decision on the fate of 18-year-old Kallen Hazel who, after a stunning 36 foster placements before being charged with felony arson, has been rescheduled to Monday, August 15.

Hazel's court-appointed attorney Scott Ereckson told Boise Weekly that the sentencing had been rescheduled given the fact that Hazel was taken back into custody earlier this month in northern Idaho. Hazel has since been transferred back to a Valley County Court jail where he'll sit until the August 15th court hearing.

ORIGINAL STORY: July 13, 2016

Kallen Hazel is 18 years old (he will turn 19 in October). For most of his childhood, the state of Idaho has been his keeper—first as a ward of the state with a stunning 36 foster placements, then as a felon, sentenced in November 2013 for arson. Now, Hazel awaits a return to a Valley County courtroom on Monday, July 18, where a judge will weigh options on Hazel's adulthood, including a possible transfer to adult prison.

In August 2014, Boise Weekly chronicled Hazel's heartbreaking life. The victim of the worst kinds of abuse and neglect, Hazel was also profiled on multiple occasions as a "Wednesday's Child" on KTVB-TV, where his Idaho Department of Health and Welfare caseworker championed his cause for adoption, calling him "funny, smart, unpredictable" and a "neater-than-sneakers kid."

The television profiles included Hazel's desire to "spend time with all types of animals."

What the profiles did not include was that it was becoming more difficult to find a foster home for Hazel, let alone adoptive parents. Two years later, he would talk to prosecutors about torturing animals.

In 2012, then-14-year-old Hazel, who had already been in and out of 35 foster homes or institutions, was placed in the Valley County home of longtime foster care provider Sherry Scheline. In July 2013, Scheline's worst fears were realized as she watched her historic barn go up in flames. The blaze was started by Hazel.

"For the better part of three hours, I thought he was in the fire," Scheline said in 2014. "Twice, I tried to run into the barn, but the fire department pulled me back." Then Scheline heard a message across the police radio: Authorities had found Hazel hiding in a swampy area off of Highway 55. Meanwhile, fire crews from McCall and Donnelly battled the blaze, which destroyed the historic barn along with a granary, trailer, motorcycle, generator and automobiles. The total value was $524,780.

Valley County prosecutors questioned Hazel and later told a judge the teenager was a "pathological liar." A separate sentencing investigator said he found Hazel "calculating and manipulative" and triangulated adults around him. Prosecutors told Idaho Fourth District Judge Thomas Neville that Hazel lived in a fantasy world and was a danger to society. Neville ordered Hazel to pay at least $300,000 in restitution and handed him a 15-year sentence for pleading guilty to arson. Because the charge was a felony, court records were unsealed, extremely rare for a juvenile case—particularly that of a foster child.

click to enlarge The criminal case against Kallen Hazel, then a minor, was unsealed due to his felony charges. - ALLAN SWART
  • Allan Swart
  • The criminal case against Kallen Hazel, then a minor, was unsealed due to his felony charges.

Hazel was transferred to the Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction facility in Lewiston in early 2014. The Idaho Court Repository indicates dozens of progress reports on Hazel were issued to the court over the past two-and-a-half years and, in April, the court granted a motion for Hazel to be allowed to leave the juvenile correction center. Hazel's court-appointed attorney told Boise Weekly his client participated in a community program in Boise for juvenile offenders.

"But apparently something happened in the past couple of weeks," said attorney Scott Erekson on July 11. "I just received an email that he had been taken into custody. That's all we can say right now."

Hazel is not in custody in the Treasure Valley, though. He's behind bars in northern Idaho.

"Yes, we can confirm that Kallen Hazel turned himself in to our office on an outstanding felony warrant from the Idaho Department of Correction. He didn't commit any crime here, but he's being held here," said a spokesman for the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office. "He's being held at the jail with no bond."

Hazel will be back in a Valley County Courtroom on Monday, July 18, where he'll face Fourth District Judge Jason Scott.

"They could put him on probation, send him to adult prison or put him on a rider program," said Erekson, adding the "rider program" allows a shortened sentence with good behavior.

"It will be in the hands of the judge again," he said.


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