A 35-year-old woman from Waterboro died less than 12 hours after she was booked into the York County Jail to serve a 60-day sentence, York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. said Tuesday.

Kimberly Pierce. in her booking photo from Monday evening. York County Jail

Sheriff King said Kimberly Pierce was booked into the jail at 5:30 p.m. Monday after she was ordered in York County Superior Court to serve two months of a 2.5-year sentence for numerous driving-related charges, including two operating under the influence convictions and driving to endanger.

Pierce was found unresponsive Tuesday at 5:12 a.m., King said. EMTs from Alfred Rescue declared Pierce dead at the jail.

Detectives from the Maine State Police major crimes unit were notified and have taken over the investigation. State police investigate all deaths that occur in the state’s prison system, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Sheriff King said he expects the Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta to conduct an autopsy and toxicology tests to determine the cause of Pierce’s death.

King said Pierce was being held in the intake area of the jail, where most prisoners spend several hours or a night before they are placed in a jail pod for the duration of their sentence.


King said there was no shortage of intake staff Monday night, and Pierce was the only person in the cell where she died.

“The desk is right there, and there is someone always walking around,” King said. “We have the video footage and we can take a look at that.”

Kimberly Pierce, in a photo posted on Facebook by her cousin. Photo courtesy Robin Pierce

Pierce’s family took to social media in an effort to present a different side of her life.

“She will be missed greatly,” a cousin, Robin Pierce of Lyman, said Tuesday night after being contacted by phone.

She posted photographs of her cousin on her Facebook page that show her standing with a horse she rescued a few years ago.

Pierce grew up on a farm and loved horses, her cousin said. She leaves two children, a 12-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy, according to her cousin.


In a Facebook message to the Portland Press Herald, Kimberly Pierce’s younger sister, Sarah Pierce, described her sister “as a beautiful person” who loved animals. She took college level courses toward becoming a veterinary technician and worked for a couple of veterinarians in York County.

“Yes, she recently got charged with an oui, but Kim through the years went through so much and was hurting. It affected her mental health,” Pierce wrote in the message.

Sarah Pierce said her sister struggled with mental health issues over the years, including severe depression. Because of those problems, she said, her sister “begged” the judge and district attorney not to put her in jail.

Pierce had a long criminal record dating to 2009, when she was charged with operating under the influence, according to records obtained through the Maine State Bureau of Identification. She has also faced aggravated drug trafficking and other charges, state records show.

Pierce’s is the first death in the York County Jail since January 2014, when a Saco man died of suicide after he tore out a shunt used for kidney dialysis.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story.



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