October 31, 2013

Maine man gets 20 years in baby’s death

He admits hurting the child for several weeks before causing a fatal injury by throwing the boy.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Ethan Henderson was 2½ months old when his father squeezed his head and threw him against the wall, killing him. The father also broke the child’s arm six weeks earlier.

Family photo

click image to enlarge

Gordon Collins-Faunce appears in York County Superior Court in Alfred with his attorney Amy Fairfield on Wednesday, when he pleaded guilty to killing his infant son last year.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Ethan Henderson had been seen for a broken arm, an injury that Collins-Faunce said happened when the boy’s arm got stuck in his crib as the father lifted the baby out. There was no indication of any referral to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Marchese, the prosecutor, said the couple was ill-equipped to raise a family, with Collins-Faunce having serious anger issues and no capacity to cope with them.

“This was a disaster from the beginning. These young people should never have had children,” Marchese said. She said she believes that others in the household turned a blind eye to the abuse.

Collins-Faunce told police that he had just come into the house from having a cigarette when his son’s crying made him lose his temper. After squeezing his head and throwing him into the chair, he put the boy in his crib. When the baby screamed horribly, he called 911.

When Ethan arrived at the hospital on May 5, 2012, he was in a coma with severe bleeding around the brain. He also had diaper rash, an unwashed belly button and dirt under his fingernails, doctors said. He was taken off life support three days later.

An autopsy showed that the infant had prior injuries to his ribs and head, which had gone unreported.

QUESTIONS LINGER ON DHHS ROLE

Collins said after the sentencing that when she worked in a hospital, anyone younger than 2 who had a broken arm was admitted for 24 hours for evaluation. The child’s death raised questions about the DHHS’s handling of the case. The department would not comment on any pending case involving the family while the investigation was under way.

Marchese said a caseworker visited the home in the days before Ethan’s death. She said the child’s parents knew of the pending visit and had cleaned up the house.

Marchese did not know what the caseworker found or whether the caseworker was aware of any injuries to the children.

The DHHS visit was the result of an anonymous complaint that the 2-year-old daughter was “covered in bruises” and that the twin boys had illnesses that went untreated.

Just before the child’s death, a child care provider documented bruises on the legs of Ethan and Lucas.

Collins said after the sentencing that the death of her grandson and conviction of her son should show the importance of supporting foster families and making sure that DHHS caseworkers get the training they need and don’t get neglected because of budget cuts.

“We make those decisions every day and there are consequences,” she said.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:dhench@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Gordon Collins-Faunce appears in York County Superior Court in Alfred with his attorney Amy Fairfield on Wednesday, when he pleaded guilty to killing his infant son last year.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

  


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