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.
Sound 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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Dude, your facts are a little sloppy. For starters, Lindsey is the father, Lynn is the step-mother. For another, commentary of assinine folk aside, considering that there were pigs, emu, geese, and all kinds of farm critters around, is it really a surprise that there were 120 animals “in and around the house”. And could you make a bigger leap of il-logic? What does a man wearing a sword have anything to do with this case? Maybe he works at the Renaisance Faire, for example. Unless, of course, you know something the police don’t? If you’re so well informed, why don’t you give them a call and help them clear this up?
The simple fact is that no one outside knows what happened. Of course, every idiot is entitled to an opinion, but stating it as fact??
Fair warning – there is a LOT in this posting that could be construed as libel of the family. If you end up getting sued, don’t say you weren’t warned. And get your facts straight before you stick your keyboard in your mouth, next time.
Are you Christian, by chance? You certainly pass judgement on others like one – especially people you don’t know, admonition about throwing first stones and all.
Thanks for clearing it up about the parent’s names, that was a stupid mistake.
So you consider over a hundred cats shitting and pissing all over the house farm critters?
Obviously you know oh so much more than the rest of us unenlightened folk, perhaps you would care to share your facts. I suppose that she might have actually hung herself but what then was it that led police to decide and treat it as a homicide.
Just to follow up on some of the thing the media failed to leave out. I am the nephew of Lynn Maxwell and the cousin of Erin. Now I by no means am close with that side of the family, but there are a few things that should be mentioned. Erin wasn’t as shy as they are saying. Talk to her teachers, who were at the wake. She was a straight A student, used to stop and say Hi to her principal every morning, was well liked and very outgoing with other students and the facilty of the school. Also, yes her step brother wa seen wearing a cape, feathered hat and a FAKE sword…but did they mention at any point that he WORKED AT THE STERLING RENASSAINCE FESTIVAL as a performer? No they failed to mention that one. Yes there were alot of animals, and I will not deny that the conditions were less than stellar. Im not going to pretend to have the answers to the questions of why, what and how. I am going to say that the media did a good job of telling half the facts. According to one investigator that I spoke to, they are investigating it as a homicide b/c most 11 year olds dont commit suicide. Plus the damn medical examiner went on vacation after he did the autopsy and wont be releasing it for a few weeks. Nice guy.. I’m not defending the family, it may have been homicide, it may not have been. But at least lets wait for all the info to come in before we crucify them. Since her step mom and dad werent home when it happened, lets wait until the M.E. report comes back before we decide what happened to her.. Oh and by the way.. the picture they used fro her in the paper and on TV is about the worst picture of her there is. She looked nothing like that. And I saw her fairly recently before the tragedy. JUst a thought. Thanks for reading
That’s what I had read, that Erin was well liked at school.
Thank you for stopping in and clarifying. Is there some way I can verify you are who you say you are? If so I will update the post itself to show these things.
Obviously I don’t know whether it was suicide or homicide myself but I sure would like to clear up any wrong info. Thanks.
Well Jim, here it is 11 months later and the Maxwells have been convicted of endangering a child (several counts). What have you to say about libel now?
After having seen some of the video and photos circulating the Internet I am convinced that the conviction is correct.