Infant Allegedly Murdered by Father Who Previously Had Been Reported for Child Abuse

Ten-week-old Ethan Henderson is dead and his father, Gordon Collins-Faunce, stands accused of murdering him after a chilling confession to police. The Portland Press Herald reports:

Collins-Faunce told police that he lost control and grabbed Ethan, squeezed his head and threw him into a chair so hard that his head snapped back, according to court papers. Ethan was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died Tuesday from brain injuries.

Details are emerging about Ethan’s brief life and they show that Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) had been alerted to the possibility that Ethan and his siblings were being abused.:

Collins-Faunce told police that he broke Ethan’s arm when the boy was 4 weeks old. Court papers also say a day care provider told state workers that Ethan’s half sister had bruises all over her and that Ethan and his twin, Lucas, were sick and weren’t given medical attention.

[Deputy Attorney General William] Stokes would not discuss details of the case, including when state protective workers learned of allegations of abuse in the home and what was done in response.

He said he could not release details, despite the keen public interest, because the murder investigation is just beginning and premature release of some details could compromise the state’s case.

Until those details are released, no one can know for sure whether DHS handled Ethan’s case properly. The court papers do not establish when DHS opened a case on Ethan and if any of the allegations were verified. All these questions and more are likely to be answered during Collins-Faunce’s trial.

On Wednesday, friends and family members mourned the loss of Ethan Henderson and struggled to understand what happened:

Collins-Faunce’s adoptive father, Irving Faunce, said he and his wife, Jan Collins, were “consumed by grief. Ethan did not deserve to die.”