AUGUSTA — A city woman allegedly squeezed her 6-month old daughter so tightly Tuesday at state offices on Anthony Avenue that she is charged with assault on a child under 6.

The state workers apparently wanted to take custody of the baby and place her with her grandmother.

Alex J. Littlefield, 31, was arrested Tuesday and charged with domestic violence assault on a child under 6 years of age, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

According to a probable cause affidavit by Augusta police Officer Brad Chase, employees of the Department of Health and Human Services requested assistance because they intended to put the baby into interim care pending a petition for custody.

The affidavit says the mother was not caring properly for the baby.

Littlefield objected, Chase said, yelling and swearing at the state workers as they told her the baby would be placed with Littlefield’s mother and Littlefield could have supervised visits.

Chase said Littlefield was clutching the baby and squeezing the child’s forehead “so hard the baby’s head started turning red and pink.”

At one point he said, “The child started to cry but sounded as if her breath was squeezed right out of her as the scream suddenly stopped, and the baby forced out a high-pitched breath.” Chase said he and another officer had to pry Littlefield’s arms off the baby girl, who was then taken away by a state worker.

Littlefield was taken by ambulance to the emergency room for an evaluation and then was taken to the Kennebec County jail.

On Wednesday during an initial appearance hearing via video link with the Capital Judicial Center, Littlefield was told about the charge but did not enter a plea.

She was represented by Stephen Bourget as lawyer of the day.

Justice Robert Mullen set her bail at $5,000 unsecured with conditions that prohibit her contact with the baby until a safety plan is in place.

Assistant District Attorney Carrie James said the department became involved with the family “because of substance abuse issues.”

She also said Littlefield had no prior criminal record.

Littlefield’s next hearing in the case is set for 8:30 a.m. April 12.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]