BANGOR, Maine — Police are searching for a Massachusetts man charged with murdering a 15-month-old boy during the early morning hours on Tuesday while the baby’s mother was at a hospital.
The toddler was unresponsive and had broken bones, head injuries and a human bite mark on his right arm when rescue crews arrived just after 7 a.m. Tuesday at his Bald Mountain Drive residence.
Damien Christopher Lynn was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later.
Police issued an arrest warrant on a charge of murder Thursday afternoon for the mother’s boyfriend, Edgard Anziani, 27, of Lawrence, Mass. He is not the boy’s father.
Anziani told police that the baby had fallen down a flight of stairs, according to a police affidavit. The baby’s 22-year-old mother had left the home at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to go to the hospital for abdominal pain, the court document states, and was not at home when police and rescue crews arrived at her 55 Bald Mountain Drive apartment a few hours later.
Anziani met the ambulance in the driveway and handed them the child who “was blue and not breathing,” the affidavit states.
The suspect, who was alone with the child, told police that the baby had awakened around 4:30 a.m. and was screaming, and after attempting to comfort him, he went to the downstairs kitchen to warm a bottle of milk.
“While in the kitchen, Anziani heard a thumping noise and found Damien collapsed on the middle landing of the stairway,” the court document states.
Because he was unfamiliar with the area, he called his girlfriend’s mother, who called 911 at 6:58 a.m., the affidavit says.
Damien Lynn’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Augusta. Dr. Marguerite DeWitt conducted an autopsy on Wednesday. She determined the boy’s injuries “could not be explained by a simple fall down six or seven steps,” the affidavit states.
“The cause of death is listed as non-accidental trauma, and the manner of death has been classified as a homicide,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Thursday afternoon.
The autopsy states the child had “trauma to the brain” that were multifocused, “meaning that they were on all sides of his head, including the front, back, left, right and top,” and he had optic nerve hemorrhages, the affidavit states.
The child also had two broken bones in his right forearm, “consistent with a twisting or bending type cause,” four broken ribs, an abdomen injury, and three small puncture wounds on the bottom of his left foot, it states.
Anziani had been staying with the child’s mother on and off for about four months, according to police. The woman had left her child with a babysitter and driven to Massachusetts Monday afternoon to pick up Anziani and had returned home at about 11:30 p.m. that evening.
The mother “said that Damien was asleep in his crib when she arrived and she went in to check on him and he was fine,” the court document states.
She went to bed at midnight and woke up at about 2:30 a.m. with stomach pains. She called her babysitter to come back to the house, but the Eddington woman was not able to, so the mother left her sleeping child with Anziani and got a ride to the hospital from her mother.
The babysitter and a neighbor, who saw the child on Monday afternoon, and the boy’s mother all reported to police that there were no bruises or marks on the child the last time they saw him.
The boy’s mother wrote on her Facebook page, “I can still see your smile, i can still hear your laugh, i can still feel your touch, & i cant help but to miss you so much! Your my pride & joy. Your mama’s lil boy. I love you DBug! I love u so much!”
The main photo on her page Thursday afternoon was a picture of her son wearing a red plastic fireman’s hat, smiling at the camera.
The mother says on the Internet page that she is attending college and that her other son, a 2-year-old, is living with his father in Georgia.
Sasha Stecher, a friend of the mother and boy, left the following message on the Facebook page, “RIP lil D auntie loves you && ill never forget your smiling face … I love you && miss you punkin …”
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Stecher said she was in the process of distributing “wanted posters” to stores and bars around Bangor. The fliers feature a picture of Anziani and the baby boy.
Neighbors in the area said Thursday that they are saddened by the baby’s death.
“I was absolutely horrified that that could happen right across the street from us,” said Ryan McAffee, 24, whose girlfriend and child live on Bald Mountain Drive.
Prosecutor William Stokes of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, who is head of the criminal division, said the Bangor police did a good job investigating the case.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to make an arrest in the near future,” he said.
Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for Anziani, who may or may not still be in the area. He is described as a black male, 6-foot, 1-inch tall, 175 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
“If you do see this person, who is wanted for murder, don’t try to be a hero,” Edwards said. “Call 911.”