FAIRFIELD — A 10-year-old girl charged with manslaughter in the July 8 death of an infant from Clinton nearly caused the death of another baby in mid-June, according to that child’s parents.
Ashley Tenney and Chad Hopkins say their daughter, Jaylynn, who was then 8 months old, suffered a seizure and was hospitalized for two days after doctors found medication in her system that is taken by the 10-year-old girl, who had been left alone with the baby.
Given the amount of medication in her system, Tenney said Friday, Jaylynn “should have been dead.”
The couple said the incident occurred June 19, when they were living in the basement of a home on Center Road in Fairfield with Amanda Huard and her two children, including the 10-year-old girl.
Maine State Police charged the girl with manslaughter last week after an investigation into the July 8 death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway of Clinton. The infant girl’s mother had left her and her 2-year-old sister in Huard’s care the previous day for an overnight stay.
Huard, 30, has not been charged with a criminal offense, and authorities have refused to say whether they intend to bring charges against anyone other than her 10-year-old daughter.
Huard could not be reached for comment.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice to Huard on Aug. 10, saying an agency review of the July 8 death showed that she had neglected the 3-month-old who was left in her care.
“Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway has died as a result of your neglect,” said the notice, which was signed by a caseworker in the agency’s Office of Child and Family Services, Christopher D. Filteau.
According to the notice, Huard’s 10-year-old daughter suffers from significant behavioral problems, and it contends that Huard has failed to follow through on the required treatment. That treatment includes ensuring that the girl was taking medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and attachment disorder.
The notice also says: “You knew that (the 10-year-old) should not be babysitting children but have continued to allow her to do so.” The notice does not explain why the girl should not be babysitting, so it is unclear whether that is a reference to the earlier incident with Tenney’s child.
Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Friday he had no information about the June 19 incident involving Tenney’s baby.
Assistant Attorney General William Stokes has declined requests for comment on the case. He said he has directed DHHS not to release any information about alleged abuse or neglect that could affect the criminal case against the 10-year-old, which he said is done routinely in homicide cases.
The DHHS notice to Huard was provided to MaineToday Media, which publishes the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel, the Maine Sunday Telegram and The Portland Press Herald, by the mother of the Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, the infant who died on July 8.
Nicole Greenaway, 36, said she received a copy of the notice in the mail from DHHS.
Tenney, the former roommate of Huard’s who said her own daughter was given medication by the 10-year-old girl, gave an account of the incident in an interview Friday.
She said she came home from work on the evening of June 19 to find that her daughter, Jaylynn, was pale, sweating, and listless.
“She was soaked in sweat — just drenched,” said Tenney, 20. “She was so pale. Whiter than a sheet of paper.”
The baby had spent time alone with the 10-year-old, said Hopkins, the baby’s father and the only adult in the house at the time.
Tenney and Hopkins rushed the baby to the emergency room at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville after she had what Tenney called a seizure.
“She was on her father’s lap, and her head just dropped back, and she rapidly started shaking,” Tenney said. “The first one lasted like 20 seconds.”
At the hospital, doctors tried to treat her with anti-seizure medications, Tenney said, but the drugs didn’t help. Jaylynn was acting strangely, Tenney said, and the doctors couldn’t say exactly why.
“If her head went to the left her arm went to the right and vice versa,” she said. “Her heart rate was high and they were worried and didn’t know what to do for her.”
After consultations with other physicians in Portland, Bangor, and Boston, Tenney said, Jaylynn was transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland shortly after midnight.
Staff members at Maine Medical Center said Saturday they could not confirm the visit without violating patient privacy rights.
According to Tenney and Hopkins, doctors asked her what types of medications were in Huard’s house. When Tenney mentioned a medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder used by the 10-year-old, doctors asked her what the drug was.
Tenney didn’t know, so Hopkins said he texted the question to Huard, who texted back the name of the medication. The doctors then confirmed that the same drug was in Jaylynn’s system, according to Tenney and Hopkins.
Nicole Greenaway, the mother of Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, has said that state police told her the same medication was found in Brooklyn’s system after she died.
Tenney said “there wasn’t any way” that Jaylynn could have ingested the medication on her own. Tenney said that Jaylynn was fortunate to survive the incident and leave the hospital two days later.
Tenney said she and the 10-year-old were interviewed June 23 by workers with the DHHS Office of Child and Family Services, and that Hopkins and Huard were interviewed during the week of June 25. About 10 days before Brooklyn’s death, Tenney said, all four people were told that they were not to leave young children in the 10-year-old’s care.
She produced a “safety assessment and planning form” in an envelope from DHHS postmarked July 20 and addressed to her, that states, “Jaylynn ingested amphetamines” as an item under the heading “Past Harm, Future Danger, and Complicating Factors.”
According to the form, in order for the office to close the case on the incident, the 10-year-old “will not have any contact with Jaylynn.”
Tenney said she started looking for a new place to live after the incident and moved out with help from family members on July 9, the day after 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway died.
Tenney said in a previous interview that on the night of Brooklyn’s death, she and Huard were downstairs in Huard’s house while the 10-year-old was upstairs in the bedroom with the baby. She said she fell asleep about 11 p.m. but woke up at 1:30 a.m. to hear crying, footsteps pounding on the stairs and someone uttering the word “dead.”
Tenney said Friday that she never discouraged Brooklyn’s mother, Nicole Greenaway, from bringing Brooklyn and her sister to the Huard house because she thought that Huard had told Greenaway about the incident involving Jaylynn. Tenney said she considered it was Greenaway’s decision to make.
Greenaway said Friday that she knew Jaylynn had been in the hospital, but she didn’t know details that would have given her cause to worry.
“I had heard about the incident with the baby,” Greenaway said. “Amanda (Huard, the 10-year-old’s mother) didn’t tell us everything that happened.”
Greenaway has said she holds Huard responsible for her child Brooklyn’s death.
Tenney and Hopkins said they had lived in the Huard home for only a couple of months before their daughter, Jaylynn, went to the emergency room.
During that time, Tenney said, the 10-year-old usually seemed to have a healthy interest in Jaylynn and Brooklyn, offering to change diapers or help with bathing.
“I had a lot of trust in her,” she said.
However, Tenney said the 10-year-old also seemed angry and possessive at times, or complained about no longer getting as much attention as she did before Tenney moved in with Jaylynn.
“She had so much anger,” Tenney said. “She would get mad and just flip stuff over.”
In the first week of July, Tenney said, she found a canvas bag filled with her daughter’s clothing in a drawer in the 10-year-old’s room. The bag also contained more than 100 photographs of Jaylynn, some of which had been torn and damaged.
Others had scrapbook stickers on them that said things like “my baby girl,” Tenney said.
The 10-year-old’s behavioral problems, according to the notice DHHS sent to her mother, include oppositional defiant disorder. That is a condition which can be characterized by “a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior toward” authority figures, according to a fact sheet posted on the website of the Mayo Clinic.
The DHHS notice also said that the 10-year-old suffers from attachment disorder. Children with that condition, according to the clinic fact sheet, are typically neglected, abused or orphaned; and the developing brain may be permanently altered.
The disorder happens, the fact sheet says, “because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established.”