‘People Shouldn’t Rush To Judgment,’ Maxwell Family Attorney Says

FULTON, NY – The attorney for the Maxwell family says while his clients continue to be cooperative with police in the investigation into the death of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell, there has been little reciprocation.

The child died during the early morning hours of Aug. 30 from injuries she sustained in her home Aug. 29. Police continue to investigate her death as a homicide. More than a month after her death, no arrests have been made in the case.

Salvatore Lanza
Salvatore Lanza

Salvatore Lanza, who represents Erin’s biological father, Lindsey Maxwell; step-mother, Lynn Maxwell; and step-brother, Alan Jones; said Monday that he has not been able to retrieve information from police about the investigation.

“No one is telling me anything,” he said. “They are keeping very mum on this case. (Police) have refused to release my clients’ statements… or the results of the autopsy. We’re cooperating but they refuse… everything is very secretive.”

Last week, Lanza said the New York State Police requested DNA samples from both Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell Oct. 1.

“In keeping with their promise to cooperate with the law enforcement officials in their ongoing investigation, both Lindsey and Lynn agreed to the request of the New York State Police,” Lanza said in a statement that he released to the press Friday.

Both Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell provided DNA samples that day without objection, he said. During a press conference Sept. 26, Lanza pointed out that Jones submitted his DNA when the case first began.

“Why this wasn’t done weeks ago is beyond me,” Lanza said Monday.

“I think what’s happening is they have DNA samples that they have been able to acquire from the autopsy and that DNA sample does not match with Alan Jones’ DNA,” Lanza said. “If they had DNA samples that matched, he’d be arrested by now.”

Lanza also pointed out Friday that law enforcement officers are conducting an investigation in the state of Nevada in this case. He said Erin stayed with her father’s family in that state through the summer and returned Aug. 11.

“The Maxwell family has been informed that their relatives are being questioned by police authorities at this time,” Lanza said.

“They looked at (Lindsey Maxwell’s) brother-in-law,” Lanza said. “His sister has to talk to them today (Monday). We’ll see what transpires there.”

Lanza stressed that the family maintains Erin’s death was a tragic accident.

Last week, the Department of Social Services completed its report on several child protective investigations that were conducted at the Maxwell home since 2003. Within that report, DSS Commissioner Fran Lanigan pointed out that an investigation is ongoing, as well.

“Realistically, where is that investigation going to go? If Erin was alive, they could take her out of the household and put her in foster care,” Lanza said.

Instead, Lanza said he believes that the current investigation is the result of public pressure, or pressure from the Oswego County Legislature, to bring action against his clients in family court because of the visibility in the case.

“This doesn’t sit well with us,” he said.

Lanza pointed out that the family was cooperative with all past DSS investigations and each was closed.

“DSS (said) the house had an odor and that it had no negative impact on Erin Maxwell,” Lanza said. He noted that the family provided for Erin, despite rejecting offers for things like food stamps from the county.

“The Maxwells are proud people,” he said. “They are private people. They make due with what they live on each year, which isn’t much.”

“There are many houses I’ve seen in Oswego County, in every township, that perhaps DSS ought to visit,” Lanza said, noting things like trash and debris that can be seen from the roadway at many homes.

“This is just how some people live,” he added.

Lanza also referenced a report that the Maxwells were attempting to purchase additional property earlier this year.

“It wasn’t Lynn,” Lanza said. “Lindsey Maxwell made an inquiry to Frank Pitcher’s wife. They were just talking and he asked a question. That kind of thing happens all the time. They obviously don’t have the money to pay for more property. No contract was ever signed. … They were just talking.”

Overall, Lanza said his clients have been treated unfairly by the public, the press and the police.

“People shouldn’t rush to judgment,” Lanza said. “I’ve seen a lot of that. People are making foolish statements without having all of the facts of the case.”