When 10-week-old Ethan Henderson died of brain injuries nine days ago, his grandfather, Irving Faunce, was consumed with grief. Now, Faunce wants answers.

He wants to know why state child protective workers weren’t notified when his grandson’s arm was broken six weeks before he died — or, if they were notified, why they didn’t act.

“A report and follow-up could easily have prevented Ethan’s death,” Faunce said.

Legislators also want answers. The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing Wednesday to explore how the state Office of Child and Family Services responds to reports of abuse and what obstacles may inhibit its response.

Maine State Police have charged Ethan’s father, Gordon Collins-Faunce, 23, with murdering the boy. A detective said in an affidavit that Collins-Faunce told police he squeezed the boy’s head between his hands and flung him into a chair at the family’s home in Arundel in a moment of frustration on May 5.

Collins-Faunce also told investigators that he had broken Ethan’s arm when the boy was about 4 weeks old, the affidavit says.

Irving Faunce said Ethan’s mother, Christina Henderson, has told him that the child’s pediatrician was Dr. Lisa Gouldsbrough. That was corroborated by another pediatrician who was contacted in connection with the case.

Gouldsbrough, who works at PrimeCare Pediatrics, an affiliate of Southern Maine Medical Center in Kennebunk, has not returned several phone calls seeking comment. Calls to her office were referred to Southern Maine Medical Center’s community relations department.

Sue Hadiaris, a spokeswoman for Southern Maine Medical Center, would not comment on the case.

“There is an investigation that’s open right now. There’s not any way we would be able to make any kind of a comment about where Ethan received his care or the care he received,” she said last week.

It isn’t clear whether Gouldsbrough actually treated Ethan for the broken arm, or whether a report was made to the Department of Health and Human Services. Health care workers, along with others who deal with children regularly, are obligated to report incidents of suspected child abuse or neglect to the state.

The only DHHS referral that has been made public is one cited in the police affidavit about the assault on Ethan on May 5.

A DHHS worker told police that a day care provider had reported that Ethan and his twin brother, Lucas, were sick and weren’t receiving treatment, and that their 3-year-old half-sister was “covered in bruises.”

The report does not indicate that the DHHS knew of Ethan’s broken arm. It also does not say when the day care provider made the allegations of abuse and neglect.

A DHHS spokesman has declined to comment on the specifics of the case, including whether Ethan’s broken arm was reported and when the day care provider called, citing the criminal investigation.

Collins-Faunce has been charged with depraved indifference murder and is being held on $100,000 bail in the York County Jail.

Irving Faunce, who lives in Wilton, adopted Gordon Collins-Faunce and his two sisters when Gordon Collins-Faunce was 8 years old and had been in a succession of foster homes. Faunce recalled how, six weeks before Ethan’s death, Collins-Faunce called him and reported Ethan’s arm injury.

“When Gordon told us Ethan’s arm had been broken, he offered this story about how the arm had gotten caught in the bumper pad or something like that,” said Faunce, who was immediately suspicious. “He told that same story to the physician.”

Faunce said he doesn’t know firsthand what treatment Ethan received, other than what Christina Henderson, the boy’s mother, told him.

He said she told him that the child was taken to Dr. Gouldsbrough, who referred Ethan’s case to a specialist in Portland.

Dr. Christopher Pezzullo, a pediatrician at University Health Care for Kids, a group practice in Portland, said it’s unfortunate that Gouldsbrough isn’t able to talk about the case.

“It would be lovely to hear her perspective,” said Pezzullo, a former colleague of Gouldsbrough.

It’s possible that she made a report to the state or asked that the boy be taken to a specialist, who might better assess how the injury occurred, he said. It’s also possible that someone else in her practice saw Ethan for the broken arm, he said.

Pezzullo said he learned that Gouldsbrough was the boy’s pediatrician when he got a call from Dr. Lawrence Ricci, a forensic pediatrician who is an expert on shaken baby syndrome and is working on the case.

Pezzullo said Ricci told him the boy was a patient of Gouldsbrough, who Ricci thought worked at University Health Care for Kids. Pezzullo indicated that Gouldsbrough had left for her practice in Kennebunk six to eight months earlier.

It could be a long time before the details regarding who knew about Ethan’s treatment are made public.

The DHHS rarely comments on cases involving child abuse and neglect, citing a state law that requires it to keep much of its child protective information confidential.

One section of the law does allow the DHHS commissioner to release information if a person accused of serious abuse has been charged criminally — and if the Attorney General’s Office agrees.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said he has instructed the DHHS not to release information about the case because of the criminal investigation and prosecution of Collins-Faunce.

“It’s an open, pending case,” Stokes said. “We try to avoid excessive pretrial publicity and empanel a jury and let the process take its course.”

Prosecutors worry that premature disclosure of details — particularly those known only to the defendant — could affect potential jurors and compromise a case.

Stokes said he has not instructed Southern Maine Medical Center to refrain from discussing the case.

He said that if Ethan’s death reveals flaws in the child protective system, other state agencies are responsible for identifying those lapses and correcting them. He cited the case against Sally Ann Schofield, a former DHHS worker who was convicted of manslaughter for wrapping her 5-year-old foster child in duct tape so that she suffocated in 2001.

Many details about the death of that child, Logan Marr, were withheld from the public before Schofield’s trial, but state agencies did engage in self-examination and reviewed the system for potential breakdowns, Stokes said.

Faunce said he wants to understand where mistakes were made and how to correct them, so that what happened to his grandson doesn’t happen to anyone else.

He also said laws requiring reporting of possible abuse are so broad that perhaps he was in violation of the law and bears some responsibility.

He did not report his suspicions about Ethan’s arm when he heard about it over the telephone from Collins-Faunce. Faunce is an administrator at a nursing home in Penobscot.

“I work in the health care business. I’m very aware of mandated reporting,” he said. “It just strikes me how an infant could go through having a fractured arm and have it seen by two physicians and it didn’t go to someone.”

Staff Writer Ann Kim contributed to this report.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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