Gov. Paul LePage, in his first public statement regarding the alleged murder of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy by her mother and stepfather, blamed child protective workers, school officials, police and legislators “dropped the ball” and failed to prevent the child’s death.
“In this particular case, it is a comedy of errors both at DHHS, CDS, the mandatory reporters from the schools, law enforcement…everybody messed this up,” LePage said in an interview Wednesday with News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ).
LePage blamed the state Legislature for failing to enact tougher laws to prevent domestic violence and child abuse, saying “mandatory reporting is not working.”
“The whole system is flawed,” he said “…We say we want to protect these kids but what we put in place isn’t adequate.”
LePage said he was scheduled to receive a full briefing on Marissa’s death Wednesday afternoon.
Kennedy was found dead in the Stockton Springs condominium where she was living with her mother, Sharon Carrillo, 33, and her stepfather, Julio Carrillo, 51.
Police allege that both adults brutally beat Marissa at least every day since October until she was found unresponsive by the family Feb. 25. Police said the Carrillos hatched a plan to make her death appear like an accident, and staged the scene in the basement boiler room.
But police said both Carrillos admitted to beating Marissa. They are each charged with one count of depraved indifference murder, and if convicted, could face between 25 years and life in prison.
The death has shocked the community in Bangor where the family lived until last year, where neighbors and others said they called police repeatedly to report suspected domestic abuse in the home.
But Julio Carrillo was never arrested–he has no criminal record in Maine.
Domestic violence and child abuse are issues close to LePage, who has said he and his mother were brutally beaten by his father when he was a child growing up in the French-Canadian section of Lewiston.
The Carrillos are being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Much about the couple’s life is still unknown, but so far in interviews, Sharon Carrillo’s attorney Christopher MacLean said his client was also the victim of Julio Carrillo, and at the time of her arrest, Sharon Carrillo had bruises that her husband allegedly inflicted, he said.
Carrillo was also convicted of domestic violence assault in Kentucky in 2000, according to a state prosecutor.
His first wife, Kathleen Carrillo, said she was regularly brutalized by Julio, who exhibited controlling behaviors only a few months after their marriage.
The couple split up in 2006, and Kathleen Carrillo, of Louisville, Kentucky, said she is still unsure if they were ever officially divorced.
Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:
Gov. Paul LePage (AP file photo)