Hillary Goding Credit: Courtesy of Penobscot County Sheriff's Office

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.

For nearly 20 hours, Hillary Goding carried the lifeless body of her 3-year-old daughter in and out of her Old Town apartment before seeking medical help, according to newly unsealed court records. 

The records shed new light on the early June death of Hailey Goding following exposure to fentanyl, revealing her cause of death and showing that this wasn’t the first time the young girl had been exposed to illegal drugs. In addition, the state Department of Health and Human Services had become involved with the family because of the girl’s earlier ingestion of drugs, the records show.

Hailey was one of three children in the Bangor region allegedly killed by a parent in June, prompting a fresh round of scrutiny for the state’s child welfare system and an outside investigation into the deaths. In addition, an 11-month-old in Corinna overdosed on fentanyl late in June but survived. Just on Sunday, a 1-month-old in Milo was allegedly killed by his father.

The new details in Hailey Goding’s case, from a police affidavit, were unsealed Tuesday at the request of the Bangor Daily News. The document shows that the state Department of Health and Human Services had been involved with the family about a year earlier, in May 2020, because the girl had accidentally ingested drugs.

Hillary Goding, 28, of Old Town was indicted by a Penobscot County grand Jury on Friday on charges of depraved indifference murder, manslaughter and violating conditions of her release. Goding was initially arrested June 6, the same day Hailey was pronounced dead at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

An autopsy revealed Hailey died from a brain injury that was consistent with an opioid overdose, and an initial urine screen at EMMC revealed the 3-year-old had fentanyl in her system, according to Maine State Police Det. Dana Austin’s affidavit for Goding’s arrest. 

The timeline established by police in the affidavit starts just before 4 a.m. on Friday, June 4. Surveillance footage from cameras in Goding’s Center Street apartment building picked up audio of a woman crying inside Goding’s apartment, then footage of Goding carrying Hailey in the hallway moments later.

Hailey appeared “limp,” according to the affidavit. 

Then, at 4:19 a.m. Goding is again seen on video surveillance footage re-entering her building with Hailey pressed against her chest, the child’s arms and legs dangling and making her appear “lifeless.” 

In that same clip, Goding can again be heard crying and saying, “You don’t understand, what am I going to do?” police said.

After walking in and out of the apartment several more times during the early morning hours with Hailey, Goding and the child aren’t seen on camera again until 1:03 p.m., more than eight hours later, when Goding re-enters her building carrying Hailey, who remains “lifeless,” according to police. 

Then, Goding is seen again at 7:39 p.m. carrying Hailey in the building’s main hallway. 

“Hailey appears to be dead weight and her head falls on Hillary’s shoulder in a lifeless manner,” the affidavit said. 

Goding did not call 911 until 10:48 p.m. June 4, according to phone records, and Old Town first responders arrived at 10:52 p.m. Old Town police Officer Alan Reese, who was first on scene, observed that Hailey was on the floor of a bedroom and had no pulse. 

Old Town Fire Department member tried to save the child for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Goding’s mother, Ursula, told police the next day that Goding, who had recently moved out of her mother’s home, had used drugs since she was 16, the affidavit said. She also told police that her daughter “had a part in whatever happened” to Hailey. 

Hillary Goding told police she believed her daughter consumed heroin after she got into a plastic straw that Goding used to ingest the drug, which is often cut with the more potent fentanyl. Her daughter’s behavior then began to change, and she put the 3-year-old to bed early despite hearing that her daughter’s breathing had become “raspy,” according to the affidavit. 

Hailey was pronounced dead on June 6 at 10:04 a.m. 

Goding has been in the Penobscot County Jail since her arrest on June 6. 

A month after Goding’s arrest, her $50,000 bail was revoked, and she was charged with violating conditions of release. Goding had allegedly contacted a potential witness in the case at least 12 times from the Penobscot County Jail, violating one of the bail conditions, according to a July 9 report from Maine State Police Detective Paul White.

A week before Hailey Goding was killed, a 6-week-old boy in Brewer was shaken to death on May 31, according to prosecutors. The boy’s father, Ronald Harding is charged with manslaughter.

Two weeks after Hailey’s death, Maddox Williams, a 3-year-old Stockton Springs boy, was pronounced dead after being brought to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

Williams’ mother Jessica Trefethen was charged with the boy’s murder after an autopsy revealed he had suffered a fractured spine, bruises, bleeding in his brain, a ruptured bowel and other injuries.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...