SKOWHEGAN — The Fairfield woman charged with murder in connection with the death of her newborn son entered no plea in a video appearance Monday in Skowhegan District Court.

Kayla Stewart, 20, is alleged to have killed the baby on or around Dec. 31, according to a criminal complaint filed by Maine State Police Detective Scott A. Bryant.

Details on the cause of death have not been released, and a police affidavit in support of the charge has been sealed in court.

Stewart appeared on the video in an orange jumpsuit Monday and answered, “Yes, sir,” when Judge Charles LaVerdiere asked whether she understood her rights and the charge against her.

Stewart is in custody at the Somerset County Jail and will continue to be held without bail until a Harnish hearing, which determines whether a person charged with a capital crime should be held without bail, takes place at a later date, LaVerdiere said.

The reason for the delay was to give Stewart enough time to hire an attorney or to file paperwork requesting a court-appointed attorney. She was represented Monday by the court’s attorney of the day, Phil Mohlar.

Stewart was arrested Friday after police found the remains of a full-term baby boy in the garage of the home she shared with her boyfriend, Nicholas Blood, at 457 Norridgewock Road this month. Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, a prosecutor in the case, would not comment on whether the state plans to bring any charges against Blood.

Family members of Stewart, including her mother, Lucie Johnston Stewart, attended Monday’s hearing, and some cried as Kayla Stewart responded to LaVerdiere’s questions. Outside of court, the family declined to comment.

Tim Feeley, a spokesman for the Office of the Maine Attorney General, said in an email that “the matter is still under investigation” as an explanation for why the court affidavit is sealed.

State police searched the home and garage on Norridgewock Road for four days after discovering the remains of the child on Jan. 11. Police have refused to say what prompted the search.

The house, a mobile home with a small detached garage, was released back to the couple on Jan. 13. Over the weekend, a car came and went from the property, but no one answered the door Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Blood and Stewart also have a 3-year-old daughter who is staying with relatives, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

A murder conviction in Maine is punishable by a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and maximum sentence of life in prison.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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