The Bangor mother accused of repeatedly rubbing heroin on her 1-year-old daughter’s gums before the girl died from exposure to fentanyl denies the accusation and says she would never harm her child.

Kimberly Nelligan Still image from News Center Maine video

Kimberly Nelligan, 33, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a scheduled drug. Her daughter, Jordynn, died in October 2018.

Bangor police have been working on the case since the girl’s death, repeatedly interviewing Nelligan and the girl’s father, Shane Smith, according to an affidavit filed in court.

Nelligan repeatedly denied harming her daughter and said it was Smith who exposed the toddler to drugs, in an interview with News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ).

“I did nothing to hurt this little girl. I’m at fault for allowing her dad around her and I know that,” Nelligan told News Center on Thursday.

The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office conducted tests and informed police in December that Jordynn died from acute fentanyl intoxication. The office also concluded the amount of fentanyl in the girl’s system indicated that she ingested it directly. There was too much exposure for the girl to have picked up residue on her hands or on a bottle and transferred it to her mouth, the state’s report concluded.

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic painkiller that is often mixed with heroin to strengthen its effect. It is a leading cause of fatal overdoses in Maine amid the opioid addiction epidemic.

Investigators repeatedly interviewed Nelligan and Smith separately over the last nine months about their drug use and about how the girl might have been exposed to heroin or fentanyl. Their stories changed many times, and they eventually admitted to using heroin around the time of the girl’s death while continuing to deny any knowledge about how she was exposed, according to a police affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Smith told police in June that Nelligan had rubbed heroin residue on the girl’s gums to help her sleep. The girl had problems with her stomach that kept her from sleeping, Smith told police.

“Shane said Kimberly was taking leftover baggies from their ‘dope’ and using the residue to put on the inside of Jordynn’s gums to help her sleep,” the affidavit says. “Shane said Kimberly told him she had done it with her other kids in the past.”

But Nelligan said this week she never did the things Smith has accused her of doing.

“I never rubbed anything, any type of heroin, fentanyl, whatever, on my daughter’s gums,” she said.

First responders were called to the home of Nelligan’s mother and stepfather at the Holiday Trailer Park around 11 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2018, for a report of an unresponsive child.

Officers immediately began performing CPR and the girl was taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, but efforts to save the child were unsuccessful.

Nelligan was allowed bail on Wednesday under the condition she have no unsupervised contact with minors, no contact with Smith and stay away from drugs, except marijuana.

Nelligan told News Center that she will pay for a lie detector test to prove that she did not harm her child.

Nelligan’s other children, who are 7 and 3 years old, are staying with their father, she said. Nelligan said she had another daughter who died in 2006 of a birth defect.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: