AUGUSTA — A woman diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when she starved her 5-year-old daughter to death in 1993 will remain in state custody for at least a few more months.

A judge recently denied Tonia Kigas Porter’s bid for a full discharge from the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Porter has lived in her own apartment in Augusta — unsupervised other than monthly visits with her mental health workers — since 2010. Before that, she had been in a supervised apartment since 2003.

She has worked well with her treatment team, is painfully aware of what she did to her daughter and is committed to taking her medication so nothing like that happens again, according to Ann LeBlanc, a psychologist and director of the State Forensic Service.

LeBlanc testified at recent treatment release hearing for Porter in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Justice Michaela Murphy denied the petition in writing on Wednesday, but noted that Porter’s petition for discharge could be heard again in July. It would require new reports from Riverview Psychiatric Center staff and the State Forensic Service.

LeBlanc said Porter would not present an increased risk to the community if she were discharged.
However, LeBlanc stopped short of guaranteeing that Porter would keep taking her medication or seeing a psychologist, and thus never again become a public risk.

Porter’s daughter, Tavielle Kigas, starved to death in their Bangor apartment after Porter withheld food and water from her for almost six weeks, according to newspaper accounts.

Porter, who told police at the time that she believed her daughter was evil, was found not guilty of the murder of reason of insanity.

She was committed to state custody following a 1995 finding in Penobscot County Superior Court that she was “not criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or defect of the offense of murder.”