BANGOR, Maine — Police enlisted the aid of federal authorities and expanded their search outside the state Friday for the 27-year-old man accused of killing 15-month-old Damien Christopher Lynn on Tuesday.
Edgard B. Anziani of Lawrence, Mass., who police say was the mother’s boyfriend, was charged with murder Thursday afternoon and an arrest warrant was issued.
In court documents released Thursday, authorities said that Damien Lynn died while his mother, who is 22, was in the hospital being treated for abdominal pain and the boy was at home in Anziani’s care.
According to police, Anziani had been staying with the child’s mother on and off for about four months at her 55 Bald Mountain Drive apartment. He is not the baby’s father.
As of late Friday, Anziani remained at large, despite efforts to locate him in Greater Bangor and beyond, Bangor police Lt. Tim Reid said late Friday afternoon.
“He has not been apprehended yet,” Reid said.
“We have been in contact with the Lawrence [Mass.] Police Department and the FBI,” he said.
“We now have a fugitive from justice warrant on the federal level to involve federal authorities in the search as well,” he said.
“We do have reason to believe he has left the state,” Reid said.
The toddler was unresponsive and had broken bones, head injuries and a human bite mark on his right arm when rescue crews responded to a 911 call just after 7 a.m. Tuesday at the Bald Mountain Drive residence.
Anziani, who had been alone with the child for several hours, met the ambulance and crew in the driveway and handed them the toddler who “was blue and not breathing,” the affidavit states. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later.
When asked why police did not immediately arrest Anziani, Reid said, “In a nutshell, the medical examiner’s office determines the cause of death. We can’t indiscriminately hold people for days” without criminal charges.
The police affidavit that was the basis for Anziani’s arrest warrant states that the suspect told police that the baby woke up at about 4:30 a.m. and was screaming.
Anziani told police that after attempting to comfort the boy, he went downstairs to the kitchen to warm a bottle of milk. He said he then heard the baby fall down the stairs.
Because he was unfamiliar with the area, Anziani called his girlfriend’s mother, who called 911 at 6:58 a.m., the affidavit said.
An autopsy Wednesday by Dr. Marguerite DeWitt of the state medical examiner’s office determined that the boy’s injuries “could not be explained by a simple fall down six or seven steps,” the affidavit stated.
She ruled that the cause of death was “nonaccidental trauma, and the manner of death has been classified as a homicide,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said Thursday.
The autopsy further found that the child had “trauma to the brain” that were multi-focused, “meaning that they were on all sides of his head, including the front, back, left, right and top,” as well as optic nerve hemorrhages.
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.
Though police so far are releasing few details about the suspect and his background, Reid did say Friday that police believe Anziani is of Caribbean descent, that he was born in the Dominican Republic and that he has lived in the United States for about 14 years.
A staff member with the Lawrence, Mass., police department confirmed Friday that Anziani has a criminal record there but declined to divulge details.
“He is known to us. We have dealt with him,” said the staff member, who did not want to be identified.
According to the police affidavit released Thursday, Anziani’s last known address was 80 Warren St. in Lawrence.
According to the archives of The Eagle-Tribune, a daily newspaper in Lawrence, an April 2003 police log noted that Anziani was charged at age 20 with possession of alcohol by a minor, an open container violation and operating after revocation of his driver’s license.
In July of the next year, the Lowell Sun, another Massachusetts daily newspaper, ran a police log noting that Anziani had been charged with vandalism and simple assault.
On her Facebook page, the boy’s mother writes that she misses her son very much, especially his laugh and his touch. The mother says on the social networking Internet site that she is attending college and that her other son, a 2-year-old, is living with his father in Georgia.
In an e-mail to the Bangor Daily News on Friday night, the mother said she did not realize that Anziani was dangerous. “I just want people to know I didn’t know he was like that,” she wrote. “I love my children and it hurts to hear people say the things they do.”
Sasha Stecher, a friend of the child’s mother and her sister, said Friday that Damien Lynn was the “happiest kid I ever knew.”
“She’s crushed,” Stecher said of the child’s mother. The toddler had just learned to say, ‘Mum-ma,’” she said.
“I will never forget his smiling face,” Stecher said. “That little boy could make you laugh.”
Stecher said she never met Anziani and is extremely angry about the situation.
A candlelight vigil in memory of Damien Lynn has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, at Cascade Park in Bangor. Organizers Leslie Collagan and Marissa Ouellette said all are welcome to attend.
“We felt like we had to do something,” said Collagan, who said Friday that she has never met Damien Lynn or his mother but was moved by the baby’s tragic death.
Anyone who wants to help plan the vigil or who has suggestions for what the event might include can call Collagan at 949-5832 or Ouellette at 843-0550.
Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for Anziani, who may or may not be in the area. He is described as 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing about 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 Thursday. “Call 911.”