SKOWHEGAN — The young Skowhegan mother of three who went to jail last year after police found her lying unconscious next to a naked 2-year-old in an apartment filthy with cat feces, vomit, empty prescription bottles and beer cans was back in jail Thursday.

Stephanie Freeman, 29, was arrested and taken to the Somerset County Jail early Thursday morning on charges that she misused the emergency 911 system and violated the conditions of her release on previous charges.

In fact, said Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam, Freeman has been arrested or issued summonses to appear in court on criminal charges 16 times in the past two years in Skowhegan and elsewhere in Somerset County.

Bucknam said the most recent arrest, Thursday morning, came after 911 hang-up calls that began Wednesday night. The calls were repeated until police could track the number and the phone that was used and make the arrest.

“I think she needs to reach out to some of her family members and try to seek some family support and get some assistance,” Bucknam said. “I do know that she may want to seek some assistance with alcohol and try to get some help there. The interaction that my officers had last night with her, she was apparently intoxicated again.”

Bucknam said Freeman was warned not to misuse 911 about 2:10 a.m. Thursday after the third hang-up call. The fourth one, allegedly placed two minutes later, at 2:12 a.m., was the one that got her arrested.

A 41-year-old man whom police interviewed said there was no emergency and that the calls had been made by accident, Bucknam said.

The first 911 call was received at 8:38 p.m. Wednesday. A second call came in at 8:44 p.m., which police were able to map and trace to a 40-year-old man’s cellphone number on Milburn Street.

Skowhegan police Sgt. Brian Gardiner and Office Ryan Blakeney made contact with the phone’s owner, who said he hadn’t made any calls.

“The (officers) asked Stephanie if she had called 911, and she laughed at them and said ‘No’ and got up and staggered into the house,” Bucknam said. “Apparently she thinks it’s a joke. I believe she was under the influence of some type of intoxicants, according to the probable cause affidavit.”

Freeman was booked at the county jail in East Madison and released later on $160 cash bail, according to the jail administrator.

Bucknam said police take all 911 calls seriously and don’t necessarily want to punish people who call 911 for the wrong reasons. Instead, he said, it’s all about intent; and when education and warnings do not stop, then more direct action is required.

“Dialing 911 without an emergency uses valuable resources from both the Police Department as well as dispatch as both agencies are trying to locate the source of an emergency and provide whatever services are needed,” he said.

The incident was not the first time Gardiner had interaction with Freeman.

According to another court document by Gardiner in 2017, he had gone to the apartment twice before, once responding to “repeated 911 hangup calls” after Freeman said she had let a stranger into her apartment and was afraid. The second time was late on the night of July 31 or early Aug. 1, 2017, when Gardiner wrote that he and another officer banged loudly and repeatedly on Freeman’s door but got no response. Loud music was blasting from the apartment, he wrote.

The door was dead-bolted shut, so the officers got a ladder and looked through the apartment window and saw “a small infant with no clothes on and an adult female in the fetal position” lying on the floor. A neighbor told Gardiner that Freeman had been “drinking every day.”

The officers climbed through the window and tried to wake Freeman.

“There was raw spaghetti all over the kitchen floor along with Comet that was strewn about,” Gardiner wrote in the affidavit. He also saw cat feces, human vomit and spilled beer on the floor.

“Stephanie admitted to drinking tonight,” he wrote. “It was clear that Stephanie was unable to care for her child, and the living conditions were atrocious. Uncapped pill bottles were about the residence.”

“The infant child woke, but they were unable to keep the female awake due to her level of intoxication,” Bucknam said at the time. “DHHS and medical units were called to the scene to assist.”

Once inside the apartment, the officers also noticed that there was no electrical power in the unit and that someone had used an extension cord from a neighboring apartment to play a radio. In the refrigerator the officers found a half-empty 30-pack of beer and an old pack of cheese, but no other food.

Freeman had been arrested in early July 2017 for failure to appear on another charge. She was arrested again in September on the same charge and for writing a bad check in August.

A probation revocation form was put into Freeman’s file Oct. 16, 2017, by a community corrections officer on three counts of new criminal conduct. The corrections officer cited the new criminal charges in the revocation form as refusing to sign an issued summons, refusing to submit to arrest and running from police and testing positive for cannabis and Suboxone, according to court documents.

The arrests all occurred in October while Freeman was on probation. The conditions of her release included abstaining from illegal drugs or alcohol.

Freeman was arrested in November 2017 on a charge of failure to appear in court. She also was charged on a bail revocation and on a warrant charging unsworn falsification, meaning that she allegedly made a written false statement knowing that the statement was not true.

She originally was sentenced to 180 days in jail on the charge of endangering the welfare of a child for the July 31, 2017, incident, with all but seven days suspended and one year of probation; but after violating the conditions of release, she was given 180 days straight time with none of it suspended.

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties, said she has been dealing with Freeman for too long.

“It is very sad,” Maloney said in an email to the Morning Sentinel. “We have and will continue to offer help, but we cannot force a person to accept help. If a person wants to plead guilty and take a fine or jail sentence rather than restorative justice, that is the person’s choice.

“When people are ready to choose the hard work of recovery, we are ready to give the support.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow