If you are concerned about a child being neglected or abused, call Maine’s 24-hour hotline at 800-452-1999 or 711 to speak with a child protective specialist. Calls may be made anonymously. For more information, visit maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/reporting_abuse.
BELFAST, Maine — In a three-hour interview conducted the day after 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy died, Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews tried to figure out why Sharon Carrillo and her husband Julio Carrillo had abused her so severely.
“We can always figure out the ‘what,’” he said to Sharon Carrillo, referring to the brutal story told by the injuries on the girl’s body. “It’s always the ‘why’ that gives us questions.”
Over the course of the interview, Carrillo, who is on trial for the murder of her daughter in February 2018, tried to provide insight. Jurors watched a video of the interview on Thursday, the fifth day of the trial. Julio Carrillo, who was convicted of murder earlier this year, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for Kennedy’s beating death.
Sharon Carrillo told Andrews that Kennedy used to lie to her and to Julio Carrillo, the girl’s stepfather, and acted out because she was jealous of her two younger siblings. The girl also wrote that she hated her mother and wanted Roseann Kennedy, Sharon Carrillo’s stepmother, to be her mother instead.
But the biggest reason the Carrillos began torturing the child after Thanksgiving 2017, according to Sharon Carrillo, was because Roseann Kennedy told them to do so in text messages she sent from New York state. Her father and stepmother owned the Stockton Springs condominium where the family lived for free, Sharon Carrillo tearfully explained to the detective, and when Roseann Kennedy told them what to do — they did it.
“Again, Sharon, how did we get to where we are today?” he asked.
“Because of listening to my stepmom and punishing [Marissa],” Sharon Carrillo answered.
During the interview, she told police that she had never actually seen the messages from her stepmom — but that Julio Carrillo, who had the phone, received them and would relate Roseann Kennedy’s alleged instructions, including the directive to have Marissa Kennedy take off her clothes and kneel on the tile floor while they hit her with their hands and a belt.
“[Julio] tells me that she said do this to her,” Sharon Carrillo said.
The detective didn’t buy it and told her he didn’t think they would find any texts from the stepmother when they looked. Sharon Carrillo, whose attorneys have said has an intellectual disability and a very low IQ, seemed incredulous.
“If she didn’t say it? This would never have happened,” Sharon Carrillo said.
But much later in the police interview, she changed her story.
“The stuff about the text messages from your stepmother?” Andrews asked.
“Is not true,” Carrillo, her voice small and faint, answered.
As the hours passed, more grim details emerged of Marissa Kennedy’s abuse. Her mother said that she would stand on the back of Marissa Kennedy’s calves as the girl knelt on the kitchen floor, while Julio Carrillo watched from the kitchen. On Wednesday, the jurors had seen photographs from the autopsy that showed the very deep, infected wounds inflicted on Marissa Kennedy’s feet, shins and knees, which may have resulted from pressure being put on the backs of her calves, according to medical officials.
Sharon Carrillo also remembered something that her daughter told her in the week before she died.
“Before her speech completely went away, she said, ‘It feels like I’m dying,’” Carrillo said, weeping. “I should have listened to her. It was her body going through all this pain.”
But the Carrillos decided not to get her help because they were afraid the other two children would be taken away.
“We both agreed not to take her to the hospital,” she said. “[Julio] made the decision more than I did.”
Sharon Carrillo expressed regret for what had happened and told the detective she was terrified of going to jail as a consequence of Kennedy’s death.
“I’m the most terrible mother in the world,” she said. “I should have stopped myself.”