Sadness, Anger Converge At Vigil For 10-Year-Old Abuse Victim

Mar 6, 2018

At a candlelight vigil in Stockton Springs Sunday night, hundreds of people came to honor Marissa Kennedy.  The 10-year-old was found dead in her home last week from injuries she sustained from months of abuse.

Resident Clae Seekins says she came as a concerned mom and community member.  

"I mean we're a small community, everyone knows everyone," she said. "And it's just shocking to know that something like this happened and no one even knew." Stephen Smith made the two hour drive from Poland Spring to honor the 10-year-old who was found dead in her home last week after suffering months of abuse by her parents, according to a police affidavit. 

"First I was very angry, then I was very sad," he said. "I just don't understand how this could happen, how this little girl could fall through the cracks."

Hundreds of people gathered at the town hall in Stockton Springs Sunday night to pay their respects to Marissa Kennedy, 10, who authorities say was beaten to death by her parents.
Credit Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

Relatives provided a written remembrance for the vigil in which Kennedy was described as a quiet girl who loved to swim, dance, and read. 

Pastor Ruth Martin read the letter to the crowd. "The torture is over.  Her body may have been destroyed, but her spirit lives on.  And we will love the spirit of Marissa forever."
Some lawmakers have called for an investigation into how the Department of Health and Human Services handles cases of suspected abuse. A spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage says an internal DHHS investigation is already underway.  

A vigil for Marissa Kennedy was also held Saturday in Belfast, and another is planned for Monday in Bangor, the Bangor Daily News reports. This story was originally published March 5, 2018 at 5:46 a.m. ET.