Bangor school district officials made multiple reports to the state last year over suspicions that a 10-year-old girl who was later allegedly beaten to death by her parents was being abused or neglected, Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb said.
The Bangor district made reports to the Department of Health and Human Services during the 2016-17 school year, when Marissa Kennedy was a student at Fairmount School, Webb said.
“On a number of occasions, when our staff had reason to report suspected abuse or neglect, staff made the necessary reports to DHHS,” Webb said.
“Educators are mandatory reporters. When they suspect abuse, they make a report to [DHHS] and to law enforcement,” Webb said. “They report, but they do not even receive information back as to what happens with the report.”
DHHS did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Kennedy died Sunday afternoon at her family’s condominium in Stockton Springs. The girls’ mother, Sharon Carrillo, 33, and her step-father, Julio Carrillo, 51, have been charged with depraved indifference murder after allegedly abusing the child for months.
Webb declined to give more details about the district’s response, citing state and federal privacy laws.
The news came the day that the Bangor Police Department said it had visited the family’s Main Street apartment, but found no signs of abuse.
“Once we became aware of ten year old Marissa Kennedy’s tragic death, and that she and her family had previously lived in Bangor, we searched our data for any involvement that may prove useful for investigators,” Chief Mark Hathaway said.
“We learned we in fact did have contact with the Carrillo family at their Main Street residence. Officers did not observe injury or behavior suggesting that Marissa or her siblings were in a dangerous or unhealthy environment.”
Kennedy was frequently absent from classes when she attended elementary school in Bangor last year, according to one of her best friends.
Kennedy missed “a lot” of school, but Miranda Macy, 10, said she didn’t ask why because it felt too personal. Macy no longer attends school in Bangor because her family moved, said her mother, Kelli Giles.
“Miranda told me that she was usually not there, and when she was, she said she was in the hospital,” said Giles, who only met Kennedy at school pick-up. “Miranda did say she did have bruises on her once in a while.”
Macy met Kennedy, whom she called one of her best friends, on their first day of fourth grade, she said.
Webb declined to say whether the school district had flagged Kennedy as a truant, saying only that the district complied with policy and laws to address absenteeism. After 13 days of unexcused absences, the district is required to notify the Department of Health and Human Services and local law enforcement, she said.
DHHS and the Bangor Police Department have not responded to questions about whether school officials reported Kennedy to their agencies because of absences, or if a truancy officer was ever sent to check on Kennedy when they lived in Bangor.
Kennedy was a student at Searsport Elementary School when she died, but had not attended classes since November, according to authorities.
If a student misses school there for a week without an excuse, it can ultimately result in the district notifying police and DHHS, Marianne DeRaps, the high school principal and district spokesperson said Wednesday. She did not respond to a question the next day about whether school officials had reported Kennedy as a truant.
— BDN writer Nick McCrea contributed reporting
To locate your local Domestic Violence Resource Center, call the statewide helpline at 866-834-HELP (4357) or visit www.mcedv.org. For resources or support to prevent child abuse, call 1-800-422-4453.
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