October 7th, 2008 – I have an update on the main page. There have been three arrests in the murder of Erin Maxwell. Update is here.

September 9th 2008 4:15PM – I have updated this story based on the fact that some more information has come to light. Nothing earthshaking in the investigation but it gives a clearer picture of Erin’s home life.

I ran across this story over at Websleuths yesterday afternoon and what with all of the troubles with my commenting system promptly forgot to post it.

The death of an 11-year-old Palermo girl on Friday was being investigated Sunday as a homicide, according to state police.

Investigators were releasing almost no information about the death of Erin E. Maxwell at her home at 1647 state Route 264. They would say only that rescue workers responded to a medical call at the home around 5:20 p.m. Friday and that she died of her injuries later at University Hospital.

A male who lives at the Maxwells’ home, who appeared to be in his early 20s, was often seen in the yard wearing a cape and a feathered hat and brandishing a sword, according to Lindsley and other neighbors. He would sometimes walk down Route 264 in the outfit, Lindsley said.

Collins said he had only one face-to-face encounter with the Maxwells. In January, Collins’ dog got loose. Collins went to the Maxwells’ door and asked the man who answered if he’d seen the dog, Collins said.

“Just get out of here,” the man answered, according to Collins.

erinmaxwell.jpgSound like a bunch of winners to me!

Apparently the family kept to themselves and investigators found over 120 animals (mostly cats) in and around the house which reeked of urine and feces. Living conditions in the house were pretty nasty from the videos I have seen.

The parents are Lindsey Maxwell and his wife Lynn.

The animals hampered police from doing their investigation. Apparently the cats kept biting them so they removed the animals from the house and handed them to SPCA volunteers who couldn’t enter the house due to it being a crime scene.

In a partially collapsed shed behind the house they found an emu, a pig, chickens and ducks. They also found a snake in the house as well. The SPCA is looking for people to take in the animals. If you are in the area and are interested in helping out the web site is at ocawl-spca.org.

Police are treating this as a homicide and the DA won’t comment on the investigation until State Ploice get more information. They also won’t identify any suspects.

According to this story it was initially called in as a suicide by 911 until police got there and they were able to develop a couple of different ideas based on what they saw at the house.

There are also a lot of the locals posting comments at the news story. One of them says:

I have been in the house, it is no exaggeration, trust me! If anything, they are under reporting the filth. Do you know you have to walk through 5 feet of used, dirty rotten cat litter and garbage in the porch shed just to get in the front door? It smells so bad in there that it got in my clothes for the short time I was in there. I agree, we should as a community should do something for her. A memorial would be nice since I haven’t heard of any services being planned. Maybe a scholarship or something in her name.

But the one right before it alledges that the media is blowing this out of proportion.

Do you want to know what happened? She was wearing a cord necklace, and choked. The house has always had animals.. Certainly not 100, but perhaps 30-40. They have a barn with animals, and always have. What’s wrong with that? I think there is a lot being exaggerated by the media.

At least one of the commenters has claimed that they had reported the abuse and conditions to both the school as well as the Department of Social Services on more than one occasion. Erin apparently had a history of being neglected, underfed and abused. He/she claims that DSS branded it a lifestyle choice. I doubt very seriously that Erin had any choice whatsoever in the matter.

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