ROCKLAND — A South Thomaston woman who has been charged with murder in the death of an elderly Owls Head woman admitted hitting her in the head with a tool, according to a Maine State Police affidavit.

The affidavit filed in Knox County Superior Court was unsealed Thursday, detailing the events that led investigators to accuse Sarah Richards, 37, of killing Helen Carver, 83. The Knox County grand jury indicted Richards on a murder charge Tuesday. Richards also was indicted on a theft charge and has been held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland without bail since her arrest on Feb. 22.

Carver’s son, Robert Carver, had talked with his mother by telephone shortly before 11 a.m. on Feb. 21 and in the conversation she told him that Richards had stolen her debit card. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the Owls Head woman had contacted the office on Feb. 14 about the theft.

A Knox County deputy had contacted Richards and was scheduled to interview her on Feb. 22.

Witness reports and other unspecified evidence in the affidavit determined that Richards and her boyfriend, who is not named in the police report, left the area of Carver’s home about 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 21. Robert Carver found his mother dead in the home shortly after 1 p.m., having gone there after he was unable to reach her by phone when he called her back.

Richards and her boyfriend were located the next morning.

Richards initially told police that she had been at the house to shovel snow and went inside and Carver was in good shape when she left, the affidavit said.

Later, however, she changed her story and said she went inside and Carver was already dead. Richards said she provided life-saving efforts and left, police said.

Richards then said that when she went inside the house, Carver was upset over the stolen debit card and that the elderly woman “came at her,” the affidavit said. Richards said she then lunged at Carver and tackled her into an entertainment center. Richards also admitted to striking Carver in the head with a tool. The type of tool is not specified in the police report.

Richards said she put her hands around Carver’s neck to determine if she had a pulse.

The affidavit says that the state medical examiner’s office determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma with signs of strangulation.

Richards’ arraignment is scheduled for May 23.

Attorneys Jeremy Pratt and Logan Perkins have been appointed to represent Richards.

Murder carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison in Maine.

Richards has a long criminal record dating to 2004, including under her former married name, Sarah Stalcup, according to the State Bureau of Identification. She has convictions for theft, unlawful trafficking of drugs and probation violations.

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