REMEMBERING MARISSA: The tragic story of a 10-year-old's death
10-year-old Marissa Kennedy was found beaten to death in her Stockton Springs home a week ago. She was killed at the hands of her mother and step-father after months of abuse, according to court documents. Since her death neighbors and even school superintendents have come forward to say they reported the abuse to DHHS and other officials multiple times, leading many to ask, 'Who dropped the ball?'
Author: Samantha York
Published: 9:41 AM EST March 4, 2018
Updated: 6:35 PM EDT March 20, 2018
LOCAL 11 Articles

REMEMBERING MARISSA: The tragic story of a 10-year-old's death

Chapter 1


Sunday February 25, 2018

Police respond to a 9-11 call at 7 Village Harbor Dr in Stockton Springs around 2:30 p.m. One of Marissa’s parents called in to say the child was not breathing and ‘turning purple’. Sharon and Julio Carrillo initially told police the child hurt herself while playing in their basement, according to court documents.

Chapter 2


Monday February 26, 2018

Marissa Kennedy’s death ruled a homicide; her parents were arrested and charged with her death.

STORY | Mother, step-father charged in 10-year-olds death


Tuesday February 27, 2018

Sharon Carrillo holding a baby Marissa Kennedy.
Sharon Carrillo holding a baby Marissa Kennedy. 

Court documents released give chilling details surrounding the death of Marissa and the abuse she suffered for months. The 10-year-old was forced to kneel on the tile floor and raise her arms above her head while her parents took turns whipping her stomach with a leather belt, according to the affidavit. The document also shows her parents told police the beatings began in October and would occur every hour, right before she died, Marissa could not walk and was slurring her speech.

STORY | 10-yr-old girl suffered horrific abuse, according to court documents

Marissa had not been to school at Searsport Elementary since November, according to state police. The school later released a statement saying they had no reason to believe protocol for reporting suspected abuse was not followed. However, they did not provide a solid yes or no that they had actually reported abuse or had initiated a wellness check when the child stopped coming to school.

DHHS refused to comment – stating the department “cannot comment and I cannot confirm or deny any Department involvement because Department records regarding child protective activities are confidential.”

Chapter 3


Wednesday February 28, 2018

Sharon and Julio Carrillo make their initial court appearance.

Former neighbors of the family say they called multiple agencies dozens of times in Bangor to report abuse they heard in a next-door apartment. One neighbor recalls a night another tenant kicked down the family’s door to stop abuse he was hearing. Another said police, DHHS, Bangor truancy officers and other agencies had been to the home, but Marissa was never removed. Bangor police were not able to comment at this time, stating an open investigation.

STORY | 'She should still be alive,' neighbors tell NEWS CENTER Maine

DHHS again refused to comment – stating verbatim the department “cannot comment and cannot confirm or deny any department involvement because department records regarding child protective activities are confidential.”

STORY | Maine DHHS stays silent on Kennedy case

Chapter 4


Thursday March 1, 2018

Bangor School Department Superintendent Betsy Webb released a statement explaining that while Marissa was a student at Fairmount school, the district filed multiple complaints of suspected abuse. She explained once the complaint is filed the school does not get notified if DHHS or police follow up.

STORY | Bangor school district alerted Maine DHHS to suspected abuse of Marissa Kennedy

Bangor police reports show officers responded to six complaints between December of 2016 and June of 2017. The last call was for a runaway child. A release from the department acknowledged these incidents but explained officers did not find any reason to believe the child was in danger.

Attorney Joe Baldacci breaks down what it takes to remove a child from an abusive home.

► STORY | What does it take to remove a child from an abusive home?

Maine DHHS Commissioner Ricker Hamilton gives his first on-camera interview but states he has no doubts that his department and staff responded and handled correctly, any and all complaints that may have come in surrounding Marissa and her family. Ricker says he is 'impressed' with his staff.

► STORY | Commissioner Ricker 'impressed' with his staff, will not disclose Kennedy case details

Chapter 5


Friday March 2, 2018

The attorneys for Sharon and Julio Carrillo explain the next steps for their clients, providing a closer look at what we can expect when they finally go to trial. Sharon’s attorney feels she is a victim of battered wife syndrome and that he doesn’t believe she would ever intentionally hurt anyone. Julio’s attorney argues that it is the biological mother’s responsibility to protect her child from harm.

► STORY | Mother accused in abuse death of her daughter is victim of horrific abuse, says her lawyer

Senate President Mike Thibodeau calls for an internal investigation into how Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services handled Marissa Kennedy’s case. DHHS agreed to another interview but instead made reporter Vivien Leigh sit in a conference room for over two hours before canceling and referring her to the Governor’s office.

► STORY | Internal DHHS probe underway in Marissa Kennedy death case

11-year-old Emmaline remembers her good friend from Fairmont elementary school, saying Marissa’s smile and laugh made everyone happy. She also remembers that her friend would often miss one or two days of school a week and when she was there, would have a hard time staying awake

► STORY | 'Her smile and laugh lit up our classroom,' says classmate of Marissa Kennedy

Chapter 6


Saturday March 3, 2018

Dozens of people gather for a vigil in Belfast to honor the life of Marissa Kennedy.

► STORY | 'We have to be her voice,' dozens gather to honor Marissa Kennedy's life

► PHOTOS | Marissa Kennedy vigil

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Dozens of people gather in Stockton Springs for a vigil to honor Marissa's life.

STORY | Community hopes to begin 'healing' after Marissa Kennedy's death

Chapter 7


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Julio Carrillo is assaulted around noon at the Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset by a fellow inmate.

He is kicked in the head, brought to the hospital, treated for minor injuries, and returned to jail where he is being kept in a "special management unit," according to the Waldo County Sheriff.

STORY | Stepfather and accused killer of 10-year-old assaulted in jail

Chapter 8


Monday, March 5, 2018

An annual report by a neutral investigator reveals that the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services failed to follow assessment policy, safety planning policy, and failed to "recognize risk to children in their parents' care" in multiple cases in 2017.

We have no way of knowing if Marissa Kennedy's case was one of the 112 investigated, but the report reveals that recognizing cihildren at risk is a recurring problem annually for DHHS.

STORY | Investigator: DHHS failed to 'recognize risk to children' in their parents' care

Chapter 9


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

NEWS CENTER Maine spoke on the phone with Joe Kennedy, the maternal grandfather of Marissa. He refused to comment on alleged child abuse, but said Marissa was "more like a daughter than a granddaughter."

Kennedy and his wife planned to move from New York into their condo in Stockton Springs when they retired. Sharon and Julio Carrillo and their kids had been living there in the meantime.

STORY | Grandfather or murdered 10-year-old said she lived with him for 7 years

Chapter 10


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The DHHS Commissioner is required by state statute to tell the public what he knows about the Marissa Kennedy case - but is choosing not to.

Commissioner Ricker Hamilton says state privacy laws prevent him from sharing Marissa's case, but as analysis and an interview with the attorney general shows, he's not telling the truth.

STORY | DHHS hides behind self-imposed gag order

Chapter 11

NEWS CENTER Maine files lawsuit against Maine DHHS

You have told us from the start, you want answers. On Monday, NEWS CENTER Maine took the first step in that process. As we reported last week, we believe Maine's DHHS is hiding behind a self imposed gag order. We decided to file separate lawsuits in the Marissa Kennedy and Kendall Chick death cases.

STORY | NEWS CENTER Maine files lawsuit to get DHHS case files