In this June 25, 2021, file photo, Jessica Trefethen appears in court in Belfast on a murder charge stemming from the death of her 3-year-old son, Maddox. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

BELFAST, Maine — A grand jury in Waldo County last week indicted a Stockton Springs mother accused of murdering her 3-year-old son and charged her with one count of depraved indifference murder, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.

Jessica Trefethen, 35, was charged by police in June with the depraved indifference murder of her 3-year-old son, Maddox Williams, after an autopsy showed he had suffered a fractured spine, bruises on his arms, legs, belly and head, bleeding in his brain, a ruptured bowel and other injuries, according to a police affidavit.

When Trefethen, who has five children, brought Maddox to the Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast on Sunday, June 20, she told staff that he had been knocked down by a dog leash and kicked by his 8-year-old sister. But Maddox wasn’t breathing when he got there, hospital employees later told Maine State Police detectives who were not able to resuscitate him.

His death, the fourth death of a young Maine child within a month, has caused reverberations around the state. Those include a fresh round of scrutiny on a state child welfare system that was also under the microscope three years ago following the murders of two young girls at the hands of their caregivers.

Earlier this month, two long-standing members of the board of directors for Maine’s child welfare ombudsman resigned, saying the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is not receptive to the office that is supposed to oversee it. The department responded by saying it will provide the ombudsman with “as much information as possible on the subset of cases her office chooses to review.”

Maddox’s grandmother, Sherry Johnson of Stockton Springs, also was charged in the aftermath of his death after allegedly concealing Trefethen’s whereabouts from police.

Trefethen’s attorney, Jeff Toothaker, declined to comment on his client’s indictment, which was handed down on Friday and made available to the public on Monday.

BDN writer Lauren Abbate contributed to this report.