PALERMO, NY – State police continue to investigate the death of an 11-year-old Palermo girl. While tight-lipped on details, police stress that there is no threat in the community.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are not looking for a dangerous intruder or stranger in this case,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Captain Mark Lincoln of New York State Police Troop DÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
Lincoln provided few details about the death of Erin Maxwell Tuesday outside of the state policeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Fulton barracks. Maxwell died Friday evening at University Hospital after emergency workers were called to her home at 1678 state Route 264.
The original 911 call came in as a suicide. Lincoln pointed out that within two hours, police were ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œnot comfortableÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â with the circumstances surrounding the childÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s death. He declined to say who made the original 911 call or who was home with the child at the time.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are investigating this as a homicide,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lincoln said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNo police officer ever said it was a suicide.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
As the investigation began, it was hindered by the number of cats and other animals inside the home. While the exact number has varied in reports, an estimated 120 cats were found at the residence.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe cats were an obstacle,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lincoln said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe situation inside the house was deplorable.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Maxwell lived at the home with her biological father, Lindsey Maxwell; her step mother, Lynn Maxwell; and her step brother, 27-year-old Alan Jones. Lincoln said that the Maxwell family has lived in the home since 2001. As part of the investigation, police have been working to locate the childÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s biological mother.
Lincoln declined to say whether police have identified any suspect(s) in the case but said family members and neighbors have been interviewed as part of the investigation. The Onondaga County Medical ExaminerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Office conducted an autopsy, however, Lincoln declined to discuss the findings.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re certainly looking into her background and trying to find people who may have spoken to her before this incident,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lincoln said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are working with the DAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s office and evaluating all the facts and all of the evidence found at the scene to try and get us closer to explaining why Erin died.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Anyone with information has been encouraged to call state police at 782-2112.