Police agree to investigate alleged death threats to 7-year-old

By Jordan Bailey | Sep 06, 2017

Searsport — Searsport police have opened an investigation into allegations that the mother of a 7-year-old resident has been threatening to murder him.

During the past two years, police departments in Brewer, where the mother lives, and in Searsport have declined to investigate, saying the case was in the other’s jurisdiction, according to the boy’s father, Michael Schneider.

Schneider said he was notified by Department of Health and Human Services representatives that the mother, while at Maine Medical Center in Portland, threatened to murder his son.

Since then, Schneider said there have been other threats. He alleges the mother has said she would like to commit suicide and murder their son “so he doesn’t end up like her,” and that she has terminated her mental health services.

He said he has been staying up nights to keep watch, and sleeping days while his girlfriend is awake with his son. He also obtained a no-contact protection order against the mother, which he said expires in October.

In scathing comments delivered at the selectmen's meeting Aug. 15, Schneider criticized the Police Department for failing to look into the matter since he filed a complaint two years ago. He said Chief Dick LaHaye told him at that time that the Waldo County District Attorney’s office advised him it was not in the department’s jurisdiction because the alleged threats at the hospital, and other alleged threats by phone, originated in another county.

But each police department Schneider contacted, he said, including Brewer and Bangor, told him it was Searsport’s case.

Schneider contacted LaHaye at the beginning of August, and said he had not heard back from him by the time of the meeting. LaHaye was on vacation when Schneider contacted the department.

“Is this not an egregious situation?” Schneider asked selectmen. “This young man has the right to be alive ... I got news for you, we’re paying for a Police Department that has no desire to protect, so why are we paying for them? Why don’t we let the county handle the police department functions in Searsport?”

Schneider's young son was present and also addressed selectmen, saying, “I really don’t like the Searsport Police Department because they won’t help us get me safe. And I want to sell my toys. That way we can get a gooder man to help me keep safe.”

Schneider explained that his son recently offered to hold a yard sale and sell his toys to raise money for a lawyer. He said he "cried for an hour" after hearing that from his son.

Town Manager James Gillway set up a meeting with Schneider and LaHaye as Schneider spoke.

Selectman Doug Norman told Schneider, “I guarantee you we are concerned about this and we won’t ponder it too much.”

LaHaye confirmed Aug. 29 that after Schneider’s initial complaint two years ago, he was advised by the DA that Bangor police should investigate. He said he then met with Schneider to explain the department's jurisdiction and gave him other avenues to explore and people to contact. Schneider “totally got it,” LaHaye said. “There were no harsh words about me or the Police Department.”

LaHaye said he did not hear from Schneider again until he returned from vacation Aug. 4 and was told he had contacted the department.

Officer David Mushrall had spoken with Schneider by phone when he called, and later that day, upon returning to the Police Station, found a poster featuring an image of the mother with the alleged threats printed on it. LaHaye said several copies were posted in Brewer and Bangor as well.

LaHaye said Brewer police served Schneider with a criminal trespass order and asked Searsport police to inform Schneider he was no longer allowed to post anything in Brewer.

After meeting with Schneider and Gillway Aug. 16, LaHaye contacted the DA’s office again about which department should investigate. This time he was told, “It could go either way.”

The Searsport chief said he decided to open the case and assigned an officer to investigate. However, he said, there are other issues complicating the case — the mother is pursuing visitation rights — and the department "will not get involved in civil matters between parents or other parties."

Waldo County Assistant District Attorney Neil McLean said by phone Aug. 30 that in general, for criminal cases involving terrorizing or threats, jurisdiction could be in either the county where the threatening call originated or where it was received.

When a cellphone is used, he said, it might be unknown where the call originated, so in that case it is most likely jurisdiction would be in the county where the call was received. If both the origin and receiving point are known with certainty, McLean said, both counties could be involved through “concurrent jurisdiction.”  He said there are several other factors that play a part in determining appropriate jurisdiction.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Bradley Williams | Sep 07, 2017 07:41

We have maps to Jeremy Alex and Richard Morse III and not even Village Soup will print the story.

I'll video tape this comment, and video tape it later, and Village Soup will delete it.

Jeremy is on the Flanders Road, guaranteed.

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