PORTLAND, Maine – Maine's child welfare agency is placing blame for a baby's death on the mother of a 10-year-old accused of killing her, saying the mother shouldn't have left the infant with the girl and the baby's death was "a result of your neglect."
A case worker faulted the sitter for leaving the baby in her 10-year-old daughter's bedroom in the central Maine town of Fairfield. In a letter, the case worker said the girl had a behavior disorder that made her unsuitable for caring for the infant.
The 10-year-old girl was charged this week with manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway of Clinton in a case that shocked the state because of the homicide suspect's tender age.
The mother, who has not been charged, declined to speak to The Associated Press on Friday. She referred the AP to her lawyer. No one answered her lawyer's office phone during business hours.
A roommate who was in the Fairfield house early on July 8 when Brooklyn died told the AP that the baby was sleeping in the girl's room and that she heard occasional crying from the bedroom before chaos erupted.
Ashley Tenney said she was awakened by a commotion and went upstairs to see a terrified look on the girl's face as the mother performed CPR on the baby.
"I was unsure what was going on because I was half asleep. I heard a lot of crying and screaming, and I heard the word 'dead,'" said Tenney, who has since moved out.
Both Tenney and Brooklyn's mother, Nicole "Nicki" Greenaway of Clinton, said the sitter should be held accountable for leaving the baby with the 10-year-old.
Since the infant's death, the 10-year-old was placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Christopher Filteau, a department case worker, said in a letter to the sitter that she made mistakes. The letter was first reported by the Kennebec Journal. The AP obtained a copy of the letter.
"You neglected to provide the proper level of supervision by allowing Brooklyn to remain in (the girl's) care," the case worker wrote on Aug. 10. "Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway has died as a result of your neglect."
The Associated Press is not naming the sitter because it could make known the juvenile suspect's identity.
The letter also says the girl has "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder," ''oppositional defiant disorder" and "attachment disorder."
The woman has a right to appeal the state agency's findings, but it is unclear if she intends to do so. A DHHS spokeswoman declined comment Friday.
For now, the criminal investigation is focused on the actions of the girl, not her mother, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. A lawyer representing the girl declined to comment Friday.
Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes said the girl is the youngest homicide suspect in his 35 years as a state prosecutor, and he said there will be no effort to have her tried in the state's adult court system.
More information will be filed in conjunction with the girl's first appearance in October in juvenile court, where the maximum penalty for a conviction is incarceration until age 21.
"The juvenile justice system is designed to hold people accountable but to deal with young offenders in a way that prevents future occurrences and gets them the help they need. That's the focus we'll be driving at," he said.
In Fairfield, 70 miles north of Portland, neighbors had nothing bad to say about the baby sitter or her children, who live in a tidy white house.
"She's very pleasant, not a neighborhood disruptor or anything like that," said neighbor Jon Cochran, who lives across the street. He called them "a regular family."
Associated Press writer Glenn Adams in Fairfield, Maine, contributed to this report.