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Mother recounts night of her baby’s death

Posted Aug. 31, 2012, at 6:34 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 01, 2012, at 5:29 a.m.

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Maddison Foss-Greeenaway, 2, shows off a picture of her deceased sister Brooklyn as her mother talks to members of the media at her Clinton home on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Maddison Foss-Greeenaway, 2, shows off a picture of her deceased sister Brooklyn as her mother talks to members of the media at her Clinton home on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.
Nicole Greenaway talks to members of the media about her daughter Brooklyn's death at the hands of a 10-year-old this past July in the town of Fairfield.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Nicole Greenaway talks to members of the media about her daughter Brooklyn's death at the hands of a 10-year-old this past July in the town of Fairfield.

CLINTON, Maine — Two-year-old Maddison Foss-Greenaway knows that her little sister is not around anymore, but that didn’t stop her from trying to play with her on Friday.

Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, Maddison’s 3-month-old sister, died on July 8. The 10-year-old daughter of the baby sitter taking care of Brooklyn was charged with manslaughter on Thursday in connection with the baby’s death.

Nicole Greenaway, their mother, said Maddison doesn’t know why Brooklyn is no longer around but says that her “sister’s in the sky.”

Maddison took a photograph of Brooklyn over to two neighbor girls on a swing set late Friday afternoon. Maddison placed the photo on the swing and pushed it. She later pushed the photo of her sister down the slide.

A short time earlier, Nicole Greenaway spoke about the night of Brooklyn’s death, when the infant was in the care of a co-worker in Fairfield.

Greenaway said a toxicology report revealed that medicine for attention deficit disorder was found in Brooklyn’s system. She said it’s the same medication the 10-year-old daughter of the baby sitter takes. There also were bruises on the baby’s face from when she was suffocated, allegedly by the 10-year-old.

“It looked like someone had beat her up,” said Greenaway. “Fingerprint bruises all over her face. A black eye. Bruises across the bridge of her nose.”

The Bangor Daily News is not releasing the name of the baby sitter in order to protect the identity of the 10-year-old charged with manslaughter. Police also have not released the name of the child or the baby sitter.

Greenaway said the mother of the 10-year-old hasn’t spoken to her since a few days after the infant’s death. They both work at Elmwood Primary Care in Waterville, but Greenaway said she has made arrangements to avoid having to see her.

The co-worker had baby-sat for Greenaway’s two youngest children “two or three times before that,” she said. Greenaway also has two boys, ages 15 and 16.

When Greenaway asked her co-worker to baby-sit for infant Brooklyn, she never dreamed that the woman’s 10-year-old daughter might play a significant and unsupervised role in the care giving.

“My understanding is that [the mother] brought Brooklyn’s playpen bassinet, and put it in [her 10-year-old daughter’s] room, and she left [the girl] to take care of her for the whole night,” said Greenaway, adding that the baby sitter didn’t check on Brooklyn when she cried. “Why wouldn’t any person not check on a three-month-old if they’re crying? I just don’t understand.”

Greenaway said she wasn’t aware of any past aggression from the 10-year-old toward Brooklyn.

“My concern was that she was only 10. I didn’t want her having responsibility of watching my daughter,” she said. “She did like to hold her a lot, feed her, change her diapers and stuff, and I was fine with that, as long as she wasn’t left alone.”

On the night Brooklyn died, Greenaway said she received a call at 1:46 a.m. from the baby sitter in Fairfield. The woman said she had found the baby not breathing and that Greenaway needed to go to the hospital in Waterville immediately.

“I sat in the waiting area for what seemed like forever. It was hours,” she said.

Greenaway was joined in the waiting room by her parents, her best friend and a cousin.

Also in the waiting room was the baby sitter and the 10-year-old daughter, said Greenaway.

“[The 10-year-old] kept saying, ‘I’m tired, I want to go, I want to know what’s going on,’ All the I’s, I’s,” said Greenaway. “I recall saying something to her along the line of, ‘It’s not about you. You need to just wait. It’s about Brooklyn. We need to know what’s wrong with Brooklyn.’”

After much waiting and being denied access to her daughter, Greenaway was brought into an exam room to be interviewed by police detectives. She still wasn’t allowed to see Brooklyn.

For about two hours that night, Greenaway said she was interviewed by detectives. After she was finished being interviewed, the baby sitter and her daughter were interviewed for about 10 minutes, she said.

“At this point, all I knew was that she had passed away. I didn’t know why,” said Greenaway.

After the baby sitter was done with the interview, she attempted to leave without saying anything to Greenaway, she said.

“[They] weren’t even going to stop and say bye, nothing,” said Greenaway. “So I stopped [her] and asked her, ‘Are you leaving?’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, I have two kids to get ready for camp.’ I was thinking to myself, you’re going to send your kids to camp after this incident happened at your house?”

Earlier this month, the baby sitter was reprimanded by a Department of Health and Human Services caseworker, who wrote in a report dated Aug. 10 that Brooklyn “died as a result of your neglect,” according to the Morning Sentinel newspaper in Waterville.

Greenaway said she wants the baby sitter arrested and charged for the death of her infant.

“I feel she needs to be held responsible,” said Greenaway. “She needs to have charges pressed on her. She neglected my daughter. She allowed abuse to my daughter. She never went and checked on her.”

On Thursday, the mother of the 10-year-old declined to comment and referred all questions to her attorney, John Martin of Skowhegan. A secretary at his office said Friday that Martin did not have a public comment regarding the case.

For now, police say the case is proceeding only against the 10-year-old girl, according to The Associated Press. Deputy Attorney General William Stokes told the AP the state does not intend to elevate charges against the girl to have her tried as an adult. She will be tried in the juvenile system. The maximum punishment in the juvenile system is incarceration until age 21.

Greenaway said she hasn’t received so much as an apology from the baby sitter. Such a gesture wouldn’t mean much at this point, she said, but she would like for her to accept responsibility for the death of Brooklyn.

“She needs to understand that she’s the one who’s responsible,” said Greenaway. “She needs to understand that she didn’t do everything she could to prevent it. She didn’t check on her. She left her with a 10-year-old.”

The 10-year-old girl is currently in DHHS custody and is scheduled for an appearance at Skowhegan District Court in October.

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