Shane Smith Credit: Contributed

Police are searching for the father of the 1-year-old girl who died from fentanyl exposure in Bangor almost a year ago.

Bangor police have issued an arrest warrant for Shane Smith, the city’s police department said Friday, two days after the girl’s mother appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment and possession of a Schedule Z drug.

Smith, 31, of Winterport faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class D crime, which is the same charge Kimberly Nelligan, the mother of the 1-year-old who died Oct. 19, 2018, is facing.

On that day last year, the Bangor police and fire departments responded to Nelligan’s home at Holiday Trailer Park in Bangor after she reported that her daughter was unresponsive. The child was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and pronounced dead.

The Maine Medical Examiner’s office told Bangor police that the cause of death was acute fentanyl exposure, and the child had to have ingested it in some fashion, according to court documents.

On the day of the 1-year-old’s death, she had spent the day with Smith and Nelligan, according to court documents. Smith and Nelligan were not transparent about the events of the day, initially stating they spent the day at parks in Brewer and then admitting that they had spent part of the day in Brownville where they went for a drug deal, according to court documents.

Smith told Bangor police in December 2018 that he had witnessed Nelligan rub heroin residue on the baby’s gums about 15 times in the two months leading up to the 1-year-old’s death. She had done it to her other children as well, Smith said.

When he spoke with police, Smith was being held at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. He had been arrested before for having contact with Nelligan, which violated the terms of his probation.

Nelligan admitted to Bangor police that she was a heroin user and that Smith provided the drug to her.

Smith had been in contact with detectives and had made arrangements to turn himself, Bangor police said Friday. But Smith did not keep his appointment and stopped responding to detectives, police said.