ELLSWORTH, Maine — There was a history of violence that left murder victim Hilary Saenz, 29, with “multi-layered deep tissue” bruising in different stages of healing, according to court documents released Monday.
Her husband, Christopher Saenz, 30, is being held without bail on a murder charge at Hancock County Jail. He appeared at Hancock County Superior Court for the first time at 1 p.m. Monday.
Saenz is accused of killing his wife on Christmas Day in the Central Street apartment where they lived with their two children. Christopher Saenz was arrested and charged with murder late Friday night.
A medical examiner determined that Hilary Saenz died Dec. 25 of blunt force trauma, Lt. Bill Harwood of the Maine State Police has said.
A memorial page for Hilary Saenz has been set up on Facebook. According to information posted on the page, a celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at Pathway Vineyard Church in Lewiston.
According to a Dec. 29 affidavit filed by Maine State Police Detective Jennifer Fiske in Hancock County Superior Court, Christopher Saenz told state police he thought his wife was cheating on him and that he had struck her with his fist and knee in the days before she died.
An autopsy of Hilary Saenz on Dec. 26 indicated that the victim had deep tissue bruises in different stages of healing on her feet, legs, abdomen, chest, arms, hands and face, according to the affidavit. Her sternum was fractured, her liver lacerated, her lungs bruised and she had “an acute significant subdural hemorrhage to the right side of the brain,” Fiske wrote in the document.
Christopher Saenz initially told police his wife suffered a seizure after they had argued over text and social media messages each had received from other people, according to Fiske. He told police that during the seizure, he stuck a spatula in her mouth to prevent her from biting her tongue and threw cold water on her and “smacked her” in a failed attempt to revive her.
Saenz told police that he sent their children across the street to a neighbor’s house “to prevent them from seeing their mother that way,” according to the affidavit. Before Hilary collapsed, the couple’s 12 year-old daughter had asked them not to fight “because it was Christmas,” the affidavit indicated.
In a separate interview with police, a friend of the couple said that while she was staying with the couple earlier this month, she had witnessed Christopher Saenz assault and threaten to kill his wife, according to the affidavit. The friend was present during a Dec. 13 altercation and called 911, according to the affidavit. Ellsworth police went to the home and the incident resulted in the couple being separated for the night, the affidavit indicates.
Attorneys Jeffrey Toothaker and Robert Van Horn have been assigned to represent Christopher Saenz in this case.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.