BELFAST — Police arrested a 35-year-old woman on Wednesday in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son in Stockton Springs, officials said.

Maddox Williams died on Sunday after his mother and grandmother brought him to Waldo General Hospital in Belfast, police said. The death has since been ruled a homicide by the state Medical Examiner’s Office, police said.

Jessica Williams was arrested in connection with the death and charged with murder, police said. She was taken to the Waldo County Jail on Wednesday. It was unclear if she was represented by an attorney.

The state police’s major crimes unit has been investigating the death, which happened in Stockton Springs, police said. They said they were still investigating the circumstances of the boy’s death.

Police have also not released the boy’s cause of death, which they learned about on Sunday afternoon.

The death is the second homicide of a child in Stockton Springs in three years.

Marissa Kennedy, 10, died of long-term abuse in her Stockton Springs home in February 2018. Her stepfather, Julio Carrillo, pleaded guilty to killing Kennedy, who was beaten repeatedly for months before she died from her injuries. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison. And her mother, Sharon Kennedy, who was known as Sharon Carrillo at the time of the killing, was convicted of depraved indifference murder and was sentenced to 48 years in prison.

Jessica Williams Courtesy of Waldo County Jail

Just months earlier, Kendall Chick was murdered in Wiscasset shortly after her fourth birthday. Her guardian, Shawna Gatto, was found guilty of depraved indifference murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison. The judge said the death was the result of brutal and repeated physical abuse.

Both Chick and Kennedy were known to state child protective services, who failed to keep the children safe, according to a report by the Legislature’s watchdog agency, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. In the case of Kennedy, child welfare workers, medical professionals and police failed to piece together the abuse, despite dozens of unexcused absences from school, missed field trips, emergency room visits and interactions with child welfare workers in the year and a half before her death.

The state Legislature recently rebuffed a bill from Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, to create a cabinet-level department in state government to protect children.

Diamond said in April that a new department focusing solely on child safety is needed because the state Department of Health and Human Services is too large and complex to adequately address the need. But the DHHS opposed the proposal, because it didn’t take into account the complexity of redirecting funding streams for child-related programs or incorporate into the proposed new department other state programs that support children.

Diamond’s bill cleared the state Senate on June 8, only to die in the House the following day.

Maddox Williams’ death is the third in the last month in which a parent has been charged.

Police have charged Ronald Harding of manslaughter in the death of his 6-week-old son, who police allege was shaken to death. And Hillary Gooding was been charged with the death of her 3-year-old daughter in Old Town.

Staff Writer Randy Billings contributed to this report.

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