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.
A Buckfield father on Friday denied causing the death last summer of his nearly 3-month-old daughter, who suffered head injuries caused by violent shaking, according to the prosecution.
Trevor Averill, 27, formerly of Turner, pleaded not guilty to depraved indifference murder and manslaughter in a remote appearance before a judge in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn.
Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart set bail at $50,000, the amount requested by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue, who is prosecuting the case.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Wilson of South Paris urged the judge to set bail at $5,000 cash or $50,000 unsecured. Averill works full time and has one misdemeanor drug conviction for drug possession, Wilson said.
Averill was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on the charges by the Androscoggin County grand jury, according to the Maine Attorney General’s office, which prosecutes all homicide cases in Maine.
Harper Averill was born April 30, 2020. Deputies were called to her North Parish Road home in Turner on July 22, 2020, for a report of an infant in medical distress.
The baby was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland where she later died of her injuries, according to the Maine State Police.
If convicted of murder, Averill faces 25 years to life in prison. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.
Averill’s arrest marks the fifth time since early June that a Maine parent has been charged in connection with a child’s death. The four deaths this year prompted a fresh round of scrutiny for the state’s child welfare system and an outside investigation into the deaths.
Last month in Milo, Reginald Melvin, 28, was charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of 1-month-old Sylus Melvin, who was born July 28.
In Penobscot County, Ronald Harding, 36, of Brewer is charged with manslaughter in connection with the June death of his 6-week-old son. A few days later, the 3-year-old daughter of Hillary Goding, 28, of Old Town died after allegedly ingesting drugs that belonged to her mother. Goding is charged with manslaughter and depraved indifference murder after allegedly waiting 20 hours to seek help for her daughter.
Jessica Trefethen, 35, of Stockton Springs was charged in June with the depraved indifference murder of her 3-year-old son, Maddox Williams.
Last week, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services released details about 143 child deaths that came to the agency’s attention since 2007. In all, 30 children died from homicides, 26 died in accidents and 35 died while co-sleeping with adults, the report said.