Officials Update Homicide Investigation

FULTON, NY – Two weeks since the death of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell, state police still have little to say about why the girl is dead. They won’t comment about potential suspects related to her death.

They are, however, revealing a few more details about the conditions that she lived under at 1678 state Route 264 in Palermo.

<p>Lt. Troy Little</p>
Lt. Troy Little

During a brief press conference at the Fulton barracks today, Lieutenant Troy Little of Troop D’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations said Erin was at home with her step-brother, 27-year-old Alan Jones, Aug. 29. Little confirmed that Jones called 911 at 5:21 p.m.

When emergency workers arrived, Erin was taken first to A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital. She was then transported to University Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries, Little said.

Since that day, police have investigated the child’s death as a homicide. Little said that the investigation process was delayed by the number of animals found at the home. He pointed out that approximately 100 live cats have been removed from the Maxwell home.

“Eighty (cats) were confined to the master bedroom,” he said. Others were in cages. Another 10 or 12 were allowed to roam free in the house, in addition to two or three chickens. Other animals removed from the property include a dog, a snake, a pig and an emu.

Little added that 12 dead kittens were removed from the Maxwell’s freezer.

“(Lindsey Maxwell, the child’s father) said the kittens were still born over the winter,” Little explained. Maxwell told police that the ground was frozen and that the kittens were put in the freezer until they could be buried.

Little also said that there was no garbage removal from the Maxwell home. Trash was stored on the porch, he said.

Two members of the state police forensic team were scratched by cats at the home. Another officer was badly bitten.

“They are now starting the rabies series,” Little said. He noted that another officer who was trying to retrieve a cat was urinated on by the animal.

Little would not comment on how Erin died. While he confirmed that an autopsy is complete, he declined to provide any details about the findings. He did confirm, however, that officials with the Department of Social Services had been contacted about the Maxwell home.

“We know (Child Protective Services) had complaints regarding this household,” Little said. He declined to discuss the results of CPS’ involvement.

<p>Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd</p>
Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd

Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd stressed that the child’s death is the principal focus. Once the facts of the case are completely developed, he said officials will move onto the next phase, or “what conclusion is supported by the facts.”

“There is no disclosure that we’re going to make,” Dodd said.

Dodd also told reporters that officials cannot offer a timeline for the case.

“You can’t rush being thorough,” he said.

Asked if Jones is a person of interest in the case, Dodd said anyone who is with a person at the time of their death is a person police will interview.

“It is important to note the process is ongoing,” Dodd said. “We are talking with people who can reliably give us information. … We will take the time necessary to do it.

“It is incorrect and wrong to tell people what we think happened,” he added.

The Maxwell home has been condemned. Little said while the family is permitted to enter the home and remove belongings, they are not permitted to live at the residence.

Little also said Erin’s biological mother has been located and notified of the child’s death.