Chad Evans Wrongly Convicted

Links to articles about the Chad Evans Case, and related New Hampshire laws and cases (through 16 April 2002, the day of Chad Evans' sentencing, in reverse chronological order)

(For articles with a broader, national and international look at wrongful convictions, see "Links to Articles - Wrongful Convictions generally")

 

16 April 2002 "Evans to be sentenced today in tot's slaying"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - A former Rochester man convicted of beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter to death is scheduled to be sentenced today in Strafford County Superior Court....

16 April 2002 "Sentencing set for today in toddler's death"  from Foster's Daily Democrat

The article begins...

DOVER - A Rochester man, who once served on the Keene Board of Education, was to e sentenced this afternoon...

19 March 2002  "Sentencing hearing delayed for Chad Evans"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Sean Goodwin

Excerpts from the article...

.. The sentencing was moved from March 21 at 1 p.m. to April 16 at 1 p.m. in the Strafford County Superior Court after the attorney general filed a motion to continue.

1 March 2002 Evans probation trial again postponed  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

... A Rochester District Court clerk confirmed Feb 19 that Chad E. Evans' probation violation trial, which had been scheduled for Feb. 20, has been continued to an unspecified date wile he continues to await sentencing on his murder conviction...

15 February 2002 "Child endangerment trial set in June for Amanda Bortner"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Jury selection for the trial of a former Rochester woman charged with child endangerment in connection with the beating death of her 21-month-old daughter has been scheduled for June 10....

    Bortner is currently free on $5,000 cash surety bail....

2 February 2002 "Convicted murderer to sell property in Rochester Foster's Daily Democrat by Dave Pearson

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - Convicted murderer Chad E. Evans, who is awaiting sentencing for killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, is seeking to sell off nearly an acre of his Milton Road property....

  His plan is to separate a .89-acre section of his property to sell to Rochester Security Systems, which owns the adjacent vacant 2.17-acre lot, Behrendt said. 

24 January 2002  "Evans to stand trial on probation violation"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A local man convicted last month of murdering his girlfriend's daughter will stand trial on a probation violation charge in February....

   At the time of Evans' arrest in connection with Kassidy's death in November 2000, he was on probation for a domestic assault charge against his former wife....

  When Evans was placed on probation in March 2000, he signed paperwork stating he would remain on good behavior and "arrest free" as conditions of his probation.  Evans' attorneys argued he should not have his probation revoked on an arrest they asserted was made in error.

   Evans was acquitted in August of a second probation violation charge alleging he possessed ammunition at the time of his arrest.

20 January 2002 "Too many cases, too few workers hamper child abuse investigations. Caseworkers say they love the job, despite low pay, negative publicity"Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

When the state convicted Chad Evans of killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner last month more than a year after her death, the young girl's body rested in a still unmarked grave.
Without any clear indication of where her body lies, the only testimony to her short existence are the memories people may have and the petition in her name calling for tougher child advocacy laws.
  The state of Maine, where Kassidy was regularly babysat by family members, now requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse as a result of so many people eyeing the suspicious bruises over three months of abuse that culminated in the young girl's death....
"It's not common practice for us to delay responding to a case," said Lorraine Bartlett, assistant administrator of child protective services. Bartlett is responsible for overseeing six district offices, including the Rochester office, where Kassidy's case was handled.
Without commenting on a specific case, she says lack of funding and staffing are largely blamed for any problems the division has in handling its work.

  "It's a lack of resources," Bartlett said. "We don't have the funding in the Legislature."
Bartlett said Hocter still works for the Rochester district office, but would not comment if Hocter was disciplined regarding Kassidy's case.
Rollins declined to go into specifics as well, but did say that Hocter's handling of the case was "not within policy."...

16 January 2002 "Mom of slain tot says Evans is innocent"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered 21-month-old girl says her boyfriend was wrongly convicted of the crime....

   Bortner told Foster's Daily Democrat on Tuesday that until criminal proceedings pending against her in Strafford County Superior Court are completed in June, she has only one thing to say about the case.

   "Chad is innocent and Jeff Marshall is guilty - but that's all I have to say right now," Bortner said after calling Foster's Daily Democrat on Tuesday afternoon....

   Bortner, however, did not show up for the proceedings.

   "She's mortified and she's upset she wasn't here," Wiberg said after the attorneys met with Nadeau in chambers. Wiberg said that Bortner was under the impression the hearing was on Wednesday....

   She answered questions related to the status conference by phone, Wiberg said, and no arrest warrant was issued.

   During the conference, all parties agreed to postpone the trial date from March to June to allow more time for the defense and the state to prepare.  Brown and Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker prosecuted the Evans case, but a different attorney will be appointed in the Bortner matter.

   "Given the history of the Chad Evans case where Amanda Bortner was a state's witness, to avoid any appearance of conflict Will Delker and I are withdrawing from the Amanda Bortner case," Brown said.

15 January 2002  "Amanda Bortner in court today as trial looms"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - The mother of a 21-month-old girl who was beaten to death was scheduled to be in court this morning in preparation for her upcoming child endangerment trial.

14 January 2002 NH Outlook, Mon., 14 Jan." New Hampshire Public Television

Introduction to segment....

   This week, Amanda Bortner appears in court for a pre trial hearing in connection with her daughter's death.
    She's the mother of Kassidy, the 21month old girl who died in November of 2ooo - as a result of child abuse.
    Last month, Amanda Bornter's boyfriend was convicted of second degree murder in the case.
    Even though one trial is over - some questions remain. The Division of Children, Youth and Families received a phone call about Kassidy nine days before her death, yet there was no follow-up face to face meeting with the family. Last week, Nancy Rollins, director of DCYF told Foster's Daily Democrat that under-staffing delayed investigation of Kassidy's case. We asked her why.

11 January 2002 "Evans' case illustrates dilemma"  Keene Sentinel by the Associated Press.

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD - The state's tardy response to a warning about Kassidy Bortner illustrates the consequences of understaffing at New Hampshire's child protection agency, its director says....

   Rollins said the division has 208 employees, 156 fewer than it would need to meet national

accreditation standards.

   She said the 58 employees who assess child abuse and neglect claims and tips have caseloads ranging from 21 to 30 apiece. She said the recommended national standard is 15 cases, which would require an additional 24 assessment workers.

10 January 2002 "Report: DCYF failed toddler"   Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

A children's advocate said this week that under-funding, a lack of staff and ignoring procedure at the state Division of Children, Youth and Families all may have contributed to the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
    And if that is the case, Children's Alliance Director Steve Varnum wants the Legislature to hear that message and do something about it....
    While Varnum has been asking these questions since the completion of that trial, a 66-page report released by a three-person independent oversight panel concluded that the DCYF — the same agency Varnum is looking into — was "not meeting many of the requirements to improve its policies and practices" including "timely and complete assessment of reports of abuse or neglect."
    In fact, DCYF Director Nancy Rollins admitted that her organization is severely understaffed.
   "Kassidy Bortner was an example that we can't do quality work without additional staff," Rollins said. "Clearly, we do the best we can, but we are constantly juggling priorities based on information coming in."...
    The state must find out why the DCYF didn't follow it's own guidelines in dealing promptly with the anonymous phone call which tipped off the organization that Kassidy may be in danger, Varnum said.
    Evans' ex-wife testified on behalf of the prosecution the high-profile murder trial, admitting she anonymously informed DCYF workers that Kassidy had suspicious bruises on her face and neck....
    Varnum said he wants to know why DCYF didn't act sooner to the anonymous call and why workers didn't follow the organization's mandatory guidelines.
    The fact that Kassidy was a 21-month-old child with her reported injuries should have been alarming to the workers at DCYF, Varnum said.
   "This would have been a middle- to upper-priority call," he said. "Kassidy should have been a top priority because of the age of the child and the bruises on the faces and neck."
    Varnum said it's not unusual for a child of Kassidy's age to have bruises on the arm or leg, but the marks on her neck combine with the injuries on her face indicate something else entirely.

3 January 2002 Evans to be sentenced in March for Kassidy Bortner's death - The same week, trial begins for mom on child endangerment charges  Foster's Daily Democrat, from the Associated Press.  (See also, similar article in another edition of Foster's, by staff reporter, Brad Morin, "Evans could face up to life in prison for Kassidy Bortner murder)

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - A former Rochester man will be sentenced in March for killing his girlfriend's daughter....

   The hearing is scheduled for the same week Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, will go on trial on child endangerment charges.  Prosecutors say she knew Kassidy was being abused, but did nothing to protect her.

27 December 2001 "Could DCYF Have Done More"  By Dan Gorenstein, on New Hampshire Public Radio

Summary of program....

    Jurors have found Chad Evans, the man charged with killing 21-month old Kassidy Bortner guilty. A little more than one year ago, the baby died in a Maine hospital, about 10 days after state officials received a suspected abuse report. The Division for Children Youth and Families is the state office responsible for child abuse and neglect cases. As NHPR?s Dan Gorenstein reports, child advocacy groups wonder if DCYF could have done more to prevent the death....

23 December 2001 "EDITORIAL: Despite conviction, justice not fully served in Evans case" Editorial, Portsmough Herald.

Excerpts from the editorial...

It is heartening that the jury in the case of Chad Evans — tried on charges that he murdered his girlfriend's not quite 2-year-old daughter — was not swayed by attempts to lay blame on the baby-sitter. It now appears the true perpetrator of the crime will get the punishment he so richly deserves.
    It is disheartening, however, to learn in the course of the trial that so many people were aware of what was happening to Kassidy Bortner and yet took no action to stop it. Sadly, no punishment will be meted out to Kassidy's mother, grandmother, uncle and others who saw this poor little girl suffer for so long and did nothing to bring the situation to an end....
    It was clear from the testimony at Evans' trial that Amanda Bortner, the child's young, unwed mother, relinquished her responsibilities the first time she noticed bruises on her child and chose to put her affection for Evans above of the welfare of her daughter. And it was equally clear other members of this dysfunctional family decided early on it was somehow better to feign ignorance than admit knowledge and have to take the steps that could have saved little Kassidy's life.
    We would like to have seen every person who knew or felt Kassidy was being abused tried for her death. As far as we are concerned, they were all complicit.
    We understand the prosecutors did what they had to do in giving Amanda Bortner immunity. It is doubtful they would have been successful in prosecuting the individual who actually caused the murder had that not been done. But it sends entirely the wrong message to allow those who were obviously complicit in Kassidy's death to simply walk free. Even for those who believe the individuals involved in this crime will ultimately face a higher justice, this is a difficult pill to swallow.
    We urge state legislators to take notice of this case and strengthen the penalties for failing to do what is, hopefully, for most of us, appropriate when confronted with any sort of child abuse. Everything possible must be done to persuade, cajole or threaten those more concerned with their personal gratification than the safety of our children to do the right thing....

22 December 2001 "Evans guilty in toddler's death"  Keene Sentinel, from Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders (See more excerpts from Saunders' article, below)

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Chad E. Evans was found guilty of second-degree murder and assault Friday...

    In total, there were 22 hours of deliberation in the case...

    Bortner, who was at the courthouse daily with Evans' family and friends, left Friday afternoon before court officials announced the jury had reached a verdict.

   Just before 4:30 p.m. Evans stood between his attorneys as the jury filed into the courtroom....

   Some of Evans' relatives began to cry as the verdicts were read on each of the 10 charges against Evans.

   "There are no winners here... He has sons on his side who will never know their father. Kassidy's not coming back," Marshall said, his eyes shining with tears as he spoke to reporters after Evans' family and friends left the courthouse.

   Marshall said that not everyone told the truth on the witness stand, but the jury was able to see through that and make the right decision....

   Although the 12 jurors declined to speak with the press about their deliberations, they offered a written statement.

   "We believe we did a thorough job and complete job of reviewing the evidence. We believe we have served the state of New Hampshire effectively and well and we are proud of our service," the statement said....

    Marshall, meanwhile, said he believes Kassidy's death has finally been avenged.

   "I think there's some closure. I think she could rest now - she might be able to rest," he said.

   If there was one thing he would do differently, Marshall said, he would have called authorities about the bruises he saw on Kassidy's face. He urged anyone who suspects abuse not to deny what they see and to take action before it's too late."

22 December 2001 "Evans found guilty in toddler's death - He faces up to a life sentence"  Concord Monitor by J. M. Hirsch and the Associated Press.

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A former Rochester man was convicted of second degree murder yesterday...

  The girl's mother will be tried in March on child endangerment charges. She testified against Evans under a grant of limited immunity....

   Marshall testified that he never harmed Kassidy though he regretted not reporting the bruises he frequently saw on her....

  Evans did not testify. His lawyers called only one witness, a doctor who testified the child's fatal injury could have been caused within two hours of her death, at a time when she was with Marshall.

22 December 2001 "Evans found guilty - Jury says death of toddler was murder; five assault charges stand" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER Chad E. Evans is guilty of murder and assault .....

    Out in the lobby, several female friends and relatives railed at the media. A small girl stood by and watched as one woman made obscene gestures at photographers.

    "He's not guilty," several yelled when asked if they had any comment on the outcome.

 Evans' father looked dazed and sad as he departed with Evans' brother, who walked out holding his weeping mother.

  "The evidence was clear that Chad Evans was responsible for Kassidy's death," [Asst. Atty. General Simon] Brown said...

22 December 2001 "Evans guilty in child's death" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Chad Evans was found guilty of second-degree murder and seven other charges after a two-week jury trial in the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
After juror Deborah Hinkley was replaced by alternate Timothy Sprague on Thursday morning, two full days of deliberation were needed to convict Evans on eight of the 10 charges against him. The case had been originally handed over to the jury Tuesday afternoon. It was never made clear why Hinkley was replaced....
  As Evans, who has a 3-year-old son from his marriage to ex-wife, Tristan Evans, was led into the courtroom around 4:30 p.m. for the verdict, friends and family supported him by shouting, "Chad, we love you, Chad."
  They yelled the same as sheriffs led him out of the courtroom following the verdicts....
Numerous witnesses called by prosecutors Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker and Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown told the jury they saw bruises on Kassidy's face and body as far back as September. Marshall, Conley, and Tracy Foley, who Bortner used to baby-sit for, all said Bortner accused her boyfriend of killing Kassidy in the days following her death....
  Marshall wept openly with his mother as the verdict was read, and said afterwards that no one wins in a situation like this one.

 "He has a son on his side who will never know his father," said Marshall of Evans' young boy.
  Marshall told jurors that he regrets not reporting the abuse he had suspected was taking place, but said now the important thing is to remember Kassidy.

  "I don't care what people think of me," said Marshall in response to the defense's attempts to pin the blame on him. "Just remember Kassidy."
  More than a half-dozen witnesses said they had questions about the bruises they saw, but only Evans' ex-wife called the Department of Children, Youth and Families. No one from the social work group ever met with Evans, Bortner or Kassidy.
Friends and family answered the verdict shouting, "He's not guilty!" as they left the courthouse, but none would stop to comment....
  In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Evans was convicted on five second-degree assault charges as well as one count of child endangerment, for abusing the little girl. The jury did not convict him on a sixth second-degree assault charge nor a first-degree assault charge alleging Evans broke Kassidy's leg.
  A single charge of simple assault returned with a guilty verdict as well, for grabbing Bortner by the throat the night before Kassidy died.
  Judge Tina Nadeau dropped one other first-degree assault charge late in the trial due to insufficient evidence.
  It is during the night of the altercation between Bortner and her boyfriend that the state believes Evans was able to inflict the fatal wounds to his girlfriend's daughter. Maine's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Margaret Greenwald testified that a great majority of Kassidy's injuries were inflicted eight to 12 hours before the young girl died at Marshall's home sometime around noon.
  A videotaped police interrogation with Evans viewed by the jury as well as testimony from Evans' roommate put Evans in sole custody of the child for four hours the night before she died.
  The official time of death is listed at 1:30 p.m. However, emergency response personnel testified that Kassidy's skin was cool and dry to the touch when they responded to Marshall's 911 call around 12:30 p.m....
  Bortner will face charges in the spring of 2002 on two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was charged in November of this year by the Attorney General's Office just before the statute of limitations ran out.

22 December 2001 "Evans convicted of murder" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — Chad E. Evans has been convicted of second-degree murder in the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
    The jury foreman looked directly at the 30-year-old defendant as he read each verdict and Evans shook his head. Many people who were at Strafford County Superior Court to support Evans wept openly in the courtroom.
    As he was escorted out of the courtroom, several of his friends and family members shouted, "We love you, Chad!"...
    Evans' family and friends also declined to comment, but one woman yelled, "He's not guilty!"
    Assistant Attorneys General N. Will Delker and Simon Brown prosecuted the case....
"Kassidy is never coming back," Marshall said. "You can never turn back what was done."
    Marshall said justice has been done, but there are no winners, adding that Evans' 4-year-old son will grow up without a father.
   "Just remember Kassidy," he said. "If you forget about her, you forget about everything. This has been all about Kassidy."
    Marshall and his girlfriend, who is Kassidy's aunt, frequently baby sat the toddler in their Kittery, Maine, home. Marshall denies the defense attorneys' allegations that he had anything to do with Kassidy's injuries, and said he regrets not doing something to stop the suspected abuse. He was also the last person to see Kassidy alive.
   "If you see something — do something about it," Marshall said.
    Jurors declined to comment on the substance of the deliberations, but released a short statement to the press....

21 December 2001 "Modified Evans' jury continues deliberations"  Keene Sentinel, from Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer Saunders. Same article in Foster's, "Jury continues to deliberate - If no verdict today, jurors will meet again next week"

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The modified jury in the Chad E. Evans murder trial returned to court this morning to continue deliberating, after more than five hours of work on Thursday....

    The six women an six men who make up the new jury agreed Thursday morning to start over where they first began - 10 hours of deliberation earlier. If a verdict is not reached today, the jury will return to deliberate next week.

21 December 2001 "Juror replaced in baby death case" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- The jury deciding the fate of Chad Evans agreed to erase the last 10 hours of deliberations and start from scratch yesterday morning when one juror was dismissed from deciding whether Evans killed 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.
  The juror, a woman, was allowed to leave because of personal reasons unrelated to the case.
  Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau told the panel that the law requires a jury to start fresh if an alternate has to be called in.

  "I know this is difficult," Nadeau said to the jury, which was first handed the case at 1 p.m. Tuesday. One juror rubbed his forehead and sighed deeply upon hearing the instructions, but responded in the affirmative that he would be able to follow the judge's orders....
  Yesterday, 11 jurors were joined by a male alternate, called "juror number six," who was selected to replace the woman juror who left....

  During the second full seven-hour day of deliberations yesterday, supporters from both sides waited for a verdict while sitting near one another. Amanda Bortner, Evans' ex-wife Tristan Evans, his roommate Travis Hunt, and longtime friend Jeremy Hinton have been regulars in the courthouse.

  Marshall, his parents, and Conley have also been waiting, as has Marshall's landlord and neighbor, Will Peirce, who testified for the state....  Nadeau addressed the issue of time-off for the jurors during the holiday season, but the actual days remain to be settled. If a verdict is not reached today, jurors could return to court Monday to deliberate and, if no decision is reached then, have the next two days off, or they could take an extended weekend and return to deliberate after Jan. 1, according to officials.

21 December 2001. "Juror excused, deliberations start over"  by Amy Wallace in the Portsmouth Herald.

The article begins...

DOVER — A female juror in the high-profile murder case of Kassidy Bortner was excused for undisclosed personal reasons Thursday morning in Strafford County Superior Court after two days of deliberations.
  Judge Tina Nadeau explained to jurors that the one member would be replaced by a male alternate who was present throughout the trial, but not for deliberations. Therefore, Nadeau said, deliberations must start at the beginning to ensure a fair verdict for the defendant — Chad E. Evans.....

20 December 2001 "Evans juror replaced; deliberations start again" Keene Sentinel, by the Associated Press and Sentinel Staff (See same article by J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press in Portsmouth Herald, "Juror replaced, deliberations begin anew")

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - After two days of deliberations, a juror was replaced this morning and deliberations were ordered to begin anew....    The woman juror was dismissed for unnamed personal reasons and replaced with a male alternate, who had not been present during the earlier deliberations.  The jury now has six men and six women....

    The jury deliberated for three hours Tuesday and seven hours Wednesday in Strafford County Superior Court, asking the judge several questions.  Neither defense lawyers nor prosecutors would say what the questions were.

20 December 2001 "Evans Juror is dismissed - Judge says deliberations in murder trial will start over" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - After a day and a half of deliberations, one juror was dismissed this morning from the Chad E. Evans murder trial and an alternate was seated...

  Marshall sat with his mother, stepfather and friends.  Marshall testified during the trial that he never abused Kassidy and only wants the truth to come out.

20 December 2001 "Jury deliberates fate of Chad Evans" Union Leader from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER (AP) -- The one thing prosecutors and defense lawyers agree on in the case of a former Rochester man accused of killing a 21-month-old girl is that credibility is the key.
Prosecutors say Chad Evans is a liar and is using the child's baby sitter, Jefferey Marshall, as a scapegoat. The defense says Marshall is the liar and police rushed to judgment in suspecting Evans in the Nov. 9, 2000, death of Kassidy Bortner.
  The jury deliberated for three hours Tuesday and seven hours yesterday in Strafford County Superior Court, asking the judge several questions. Neither defense lawyers no prosecutors would comment on what the questions were....
  Brown told jurors during his closing argument. "We know the defendant is capable of such brutality and we know he killed Kassidy Bortner." ...
  Sisti said Evans admits playing rough at times with Kassidy, including grabbing her jaw. But he said Evans also cared for her by bathing and feeding her....
  Evans made wild claims about Kassidy injuring herself while he was playing with her on a trampoline and another time when his 3-year-old son supposedly struck her with a baseball, Brown said.
"As absurd as the trampoline story was, the defendant topped himself with the baseball story," Brown said.
  Evans can't escape the truth that the majority of Kassidy's injuries could have only occurred while she was in Evans' care, not Marshall's, Brown said.

  "He beat Kassidy Bortner to a pulp and because of that beating, she slowly died," Brown said. "Recognize this defense for what it is. It's the defendant's only way out by pointing the finger at Jeff Marshall."

20 December 2001  "Tension high in Evans case"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER — Friends and family members of both Kassidy Bortner and the man accused of beating her to death waited anxiously Wednesday in the lobby of Strafford County Superior Court for the jury to reach a verdict, but they will continue to wait.
    Thirteen jurors continued their deliberations all day Wednesday, and it is unknown at this time when they will come back with a verdict....
    Kassidy's baby sitter, F. Jefferey Marshall, was among those waiting in the courtroom lobby.  "Somebody has to be here for Kassidy," Marshall said.
    Marshall and his parents sat only a few feet away from Evans' family and friends, who, along with defense attorneys, contend it was Marshall who inflicted Kassidy's fatal wounds. But Marshall completely denies those allegations and said the man on trial is the man who killed the toddler.
    Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, also waited with Evans' family in the courthouse lobby....

19 December 2001 "Evans jury begins deliberations"  Union Leader by Josh AdamsExcerpts from the article....

DOVER -- The fate of Chad Evans rests squarely in the hands of 12 people chosen to decide if he is guilty of killing a 21-month-old baby over a year ago.
  The jury began deliberating at 1 p.m. Tuesday after hearing closing arguments, and will resume at 9 o'clock this morning.
  Originally, Evans was charged with two first-degree assaults, but a motion
by defense attorneys Alan Cronheim and Mark Sisti was granted by Judge Tina Nadeau on Monday to dismiss one of the charges based on insufficient evidence.
  The first-degree charge still standing alleges Evans broke Kassidy's leg, while the charge dismissed earlier stated he broke her arm.... 
  Sisti spoke first on behalf of Evans, and Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown addressed the jurors for the state.
"We can't eliminate him," Sisti told the jury of babysitter Marshall. "His girlfriend can't eliminate him, the medical examiner can't eliminate him."
  Sisti spoke for an hour and spent most of his time explaining that Marshall had just as much opportunity as his client to abuse the child. Evans' attorney planted the idea of some abuse taking place the morning Kassidy died at the hand of Marshall.
  The defense team also pointed to the police in blaming Evans too quickly without thoroughly checking Marshall. Both homes were searched in the investigation, however Detective Herbert Leighton of the Maine State Police admitted he did not search the basement of the Marshall residence.
  The prosecution focused on the physical abuse Kassidy suffered that dated as far back as July, according to testimony, as well as the credibility of certain key witnesses.
Bortner testified for the state, although she did so reluctantly.
  The defendant and Bortner lived together against court orders for nine months after Evans made bail.
  In November of this year, Bortner was charged with two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and granted immunity from her testimony against her boyfriend. She told jurors that she was still in love with the defendant and would still be living with him if he was not in prison.
  During closing arguments, Bortner did not sit with her sister who testified against Evans.
  Brown also attacked Evans' roommate Travis Hunt, whose testimony supported Evans' story of Kassidy being struck with a ball in the face the night before she died. Hunt testified that a long, yellow wiffle-ball bat was used by the defendant's son to hit the ball.
  A police search of Evans' home turned up several bats, none matching the description given by Hunt. 

19 December 2001 "Lawyer: Evans no killer"  Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press, by Harry R. Weber

Excerpts from the article....

..."They got dealt a hand that just stinks," Mark Sisti said of the state case during closing arguments Tuesday in Chad Evans' murder trial. "A building is only as strong as the foundation it is built on, and this case crumbles from day one."...
    "The evidence of the defendant's guilt is so devastating, so overwhelming, so clear," Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown told jurors during his closing argument. "We know the defendant is capable of such brutality, and we know he killed Kassidy Bortner."...
     Sisti said Evans admits playing rough at times with Kassidy, including grabbing her jaw. But he said Evans also cared for her by bathing and feeding her.
    "We're not out here saying, 'Crown him humanitarian of the year,'" Sisti said. "He's ashamed of what he's done. But that's light years away from killing a baby."
Evans did not testify. His lawyers called only one witness, a doctor who testified the child's fatal injury could have been caused within two hours of her death, at a time when she was with Marshall.
    "When she was dropped off, she was alive," Sisti said. "She wasn't cared for by Jeff Marshall. She had been beaten at that house. His testimony was a sham. Jeffrey Marshall is a liar. Jeffrey Marshall is protecting himself."
     But Brown said it was Evans who lied when he kept changing his story during three-and-a-half hours of interrogation by police before he was arrested.
     Evans made wild claims about Kassidy injuring herself while he was playing with her on a trampoline and another time when his 3-year-old son supposedly struck her with a baseball, Brown said.
    "As absurd as the trampoline story was, the defendant topped himself with the baseball story," Brown said. Evans can't escape the fact that the majority of Kassidy's injuries could have only occurred while she was in Evans' care, not Marshall's, Brown said.
   "He beat Kassidy Bortner to a pulp, and because of that beating she slowly died," Brown said. "Recognize this defense for what it is. It's the defendant's only way out by pointing the finger at Jeff Marshall."

19 December 2001 "Evans jury still out"  Keene Sentinel, from the Associated Press, by Harry R. Weber

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - A man accused of killing a 21-month-old girl may not be humanitarian of the year, the he's not a murderer and prosecutors would have known that had police done their job, his lawyer said Tuesday....

19 December 2001  "Evans' fate with jury - Defense says Evans no saint, but not guilty in tot's death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Closing arguments in the Chad Evans trial came down to the defense's theory that another man killed 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner and the state's assertion it could only be Evans.   Defense attorney Mark Sisti was the first to address the jury and spoke for about an hour about F. Jefferey Marshall, Kassidy's baby sitter, and how "shoddy" police work and premature conclusions brought Evans to trial....  "Chad's not proud of everything he's ever done... He's ashamed of what he's done - at least on a couple of occasions he left some bruises... It was terrible. Absolutely terrible - but that's light years away from murder," Sisti told the jury during his closing statement."...

 "Jeff Marshall beat her. Jeff Marshall inflicted injuries on Kassidy Bortner. Wake up folks. It happened," Sisti told the jury during closing arguments Tuesday morning....

18 December 2001 "Closing arguments begin in Evans Trial"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - Closing arguments begin today in the Chad E. Evans murder trial after a Strafford County Superior Court judge denied the defense's motions to dismiss the charges against him....

18 December 2001 "Defense rests its case in Chad Evans' trial" Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - Chad Evans' lawyers rested their case Monday in the trial....    Evans, a former member of the Keene Board of Education, did not testify during the trial. His lawyers called only one witness, a physician who testified that the fatal injury was caused before the child was found dead....

   He said the critical injury was inflicted "minutes to an hour" before her death, he said.

18 December 2001  "Defense rests in Evans Trial - Sole witness for defense takes stand to make case that baby sitter is real killer" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - After calling one witness to the stand on Monday, the defense rested its case in the trial of the man accused of killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner.   Chad E. Evans, 30 of 191 Milton Road in Rochester, did not take the stand in his trial, but his defense attorneys called Dr. Michael Baden of New York City to testify Kassidy's fatal injuries were not inflicted by Evans.

   "There are many injuries - most of which we don't know the date or time - some within four hours of death... I think the final injuries would ahve taken place while Kassidy was in Kittery, Maine, and would have occurred in the 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. period of time," Baden testified.....

18 December 2001 "Doctor disputes Evans murder trial testimony"  Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER -- Dr. Michael Baden, the lone defense witness in Chad Evans' murder trial, yesterday disputed testimony of Maine's medical examiner about the time of death and injuries suffered by 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner last year....
  Baden disputed Maine Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Margaret Greenwald, who testified last week that a majority of Kassidy's fatal injuries were sustained eight to 12 hours before her death early in the afternoon at Marshall's home. The police video as well as testimony from Evans' roommate, Travis Hunt, indicate that Evans was alone with Kassidy and his 3-year-old son the night before.
  Greenwald, who conducted the autopsy, ruled blunt-force trauma as the cause of death, noting three times in her report that fat embolism as well as brain hemorrhaging occurred. Kassidy was severely bruised and beaten when she died, and as a result, fatty tissue just under the surface of her skin was broken up into her bloodstream and eventually pumped into her lungs, according to the autopsy report.
  Baden said, "When fat embolism occurs, it rapidly goes to the lungs . . . and death occurs very quickly," but he contended that the injuries were more likely to have occurred two to four hours before the girl died.
  "My opinion would be she was dead long before 12 noon," Baden testified.
Official reports conclude that the girl died just after 1:30 p.m., but Baden showed the jury photos of Kassidy, taken at 2:30 in the afternoon on the day of her death, which he contends support his theory that the girl died earlier.
  Under cross-examination by Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker, Baden struggled to explain why he did not see fat embolism as a serious factor in Kassidy's death 15 days ago during a sworn deposition.
  Because Baden never saw the body, he had only the work of Greenwald to go by. He applauded her efforts numerous times while on the stand, but admitted he "hadn't gotten around to" viewing microscope slides that showed "extensive" fat embolism in the girl's body, according to Greenwald's report.
  Delker also read Baden a statement he made during the deposition earlier this month where the doctor stated that "fat embolism was too little to be of consequence."
Baden also disagreed with Greenwald's testimony of a broken bone in the girl's left leg. The prosecution's witness said the bone had been broken twice, once a few months prior to Kassidy's death and once again just days before.

  "I just can't be certain there is such a fracture," he said.
Prosecutors later called Dr. John O'Connor, a pediatric radiologist from Boston, who testified that the leg was broken all the way into the bone marrow cavity.

17 December 2001 "Defense begins its case today"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Attorneys for Chad E. Evans began their case this morning, promising to give the jury reasonable doubt as to whether their client killed his girlfriend's child....

    During open arguments, Sisti told the jury they would have a unique opportunity during the trial.   "You're going to see the killer of Kassidy Bortner. You're going to see Jeff Marshall - over six feet tall, over 200 pounds - walk through that door and raise his right hand... You're going to say, 'Hey, Jeff, is that the hand you used to beat Kassidy Bortner so bad through her diaper that she was black and blue from her diaper to her knees?' When he walks to the stand, 'Are those the legs you used to step on Kassidy Bortner?' If your want to hear about lame excuses, you're going to hear them from the star witness for the state of New Hampshire, Mr. Jeffery Marshall," Sisti said....   During the jury selection process, which began at the end of November, the defense asked the potential jurors whether they would be able to acquit Evans if they believed he had something to do with Kassidy's death but the state hadn't proven the fact beyond a reasonable doubt.

   "If you believe he is guilty but the state does not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, are you going to be able to let him walk?" Sisti asked one juror who was not selected to serve.

17 December 2001 "Chad Evans involved in jail fight"  Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. - Chad Evans, on trial in the death of his girlfriend's daughter, was involved in a fight at the Strafford County House of Corrections during the weekend.
Another inmate was sent to the hospital.
    Dover police Capt. Gary DeColfmaker told Foster's Daily Democrat that Evans and another inmate had an argument about 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the cafeteria during a meal.
    ''Words were exchanged, and pushing and shoving was involved,'' he said.
The other inmate fell backward, hitting a door and injuring his head, DeColfmaker said.   

   The inmate was taken to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital for treatment....
''One inmate was not specific when asked how it started,'' DeColfmaker said, adding that they were arguing about ''things.''...
    ''There is one allegation that one of the inmates spit in the other's food,'' DeColfmaker said.
    Depending on who started the fight, or if it was mutual, charges of simple assault or disorderly conduct could be filed.... 

17 December 2001  "Inmate injured in fight with Evans"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Sean Goodwin

The article began...

DOVER - Chad E. Evans, who is currently standing trial on charges in connection with the death of a 21-month-old girl, was involved in a quarrel at the Strafford County House of Corrections on Saturday that resulted in a fellow inmate going to the hospital.

17 December 2001 "Kassidy petition to reach N.H. statehouse"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Organizers behind Kassidy's Petition, which calls for stricter child-abuse reporting laws, are preparing to present their cause to the state Legislature in the hope that children will be better protected....

   New Hampshire currently has a mandatory child abuse reporting law for everyone who knows of or suspects abuse or neglect.  However, none of the individuals who told police after Kassidy's death that they witnessed bruises on her face and body have been charged....

16 December 2001 "Defense begins its case in Chad Evans Trial" WCSH-TV, Ch. 6Excerpts from the article...

... Evans is charged with second-degree murder and assault in the beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner last year. The toddler was the daughter of Evans' girlfriend...

15 December 2001 "Testimony of Evans cellmate thrown out; state rests case"  Keene Sentinel, with most of article from "Testimony Discarded - Witness refuses to answer defense questions" in Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The testimony of a cellmate who allegedly heard Chad E. Evans describe abusing his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter has been thrown out because of his refusal to be questioned by the defense....

   Cory Merrill... was Evans' cellmate when he was first held at the Strafford County House of Corrections before making bail in November 2000...

   During Thursday's proceedings, defense attorney Mark Sisti cross-examined Maine State Police Det. Lance McCleish, who interviewed Evans at the Kittery Police Department about seven hours after Kassidy's death....

   During McCleish's testimony, the court's high bailiff told friends of Evans to refrain from making facial expressions that were distracting to the proceedings.  The three women had been whispering to each other about the testimony prior to the bailiff's approach. 

    The state rested its case Thursday,....

14 December 2001 "Autopsy Infant had several broken bones" Union Leader by Josh AdamsExcerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Prosecutors for the state laid their case to rest yesterday after calling their final witness -- Maine's chief medical examiner, who performed the autopsy on the bruised and beaten body of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner....
  Jurors heard Greenwald explain injuries to the girl discovered during her autopsy, which was conducted the day after her death. Greenwald and Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker presented a number of post-mortem photos, detailing bruises to the child's face, head, back and abdomen.
"There are probably at least eight to 10 blows if you include both the front and back of her head," Greenwald said. She also said at least two blows were inflicted to the child's abdomen.
  Greenwald testified Kassidy died as a result of "multiple blunt-force injuries."...
The defendant appeared to show no emotion during the testimony.
  Three broken bones were found -- in her forearm, her hand and her shin, Greenwald testified.
  The forearm bone was broken three to six weeks before Kassidy's death, Greenwald said. The girl's index finger had been broken for one to three weeks, and the girl's shin had been broken twice, just below the knee. One break was likely several months old, and the second occurred just days before Nov. 9, 2000, Greenwald said.
Greenwald testified that many of the baby's bruises were in various stages of healing.  Most, she said, would have occurred within eight to 12 hours before her death.
Evans was alone with Kassidy and his 3-year-old son Kyle the night before she died.

  The official time of death for the infant is listed as just before 2 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2000. Witnesses however, testified that her skin was cool and dry when emergency response technicians responded to Marshall's 911 call between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m.
  Defense attorneys Mark Sisti and Alan Cronheim have put the notion in jurors mind that Kassidy was dead long before Marshall called 911, but Greenwald said it is unlikely Kassidy was dead at or before 10 a.m.
  During cross-examination, Sisti repeatedly mentioned that some of Kassidy's injuries could have occurred within the last hours of her death, putting the blame on Marshall. Marshall had been babysitting for the child for several weeks up until her death.
"Medically, we cannot eliminate Jeff Marshall," Sisti said.
"That's correct," Greenwald said.
    Specifically, a bruise to the 21-month-old's upper lip, a bruise on the back of her head, and hemorrhaging around the cornea all could have occurred in the last four hours of her life.
  Greenwald also outlined several symptoms of battered child syndrome for the jury. Injuries of varying ages, caregivers not seeking medical attention, excuses for a child's injuries, and typically only one child in the home suffering the abuse are all evidence of battered child syndrome, she testified.
"The injuries that I saw on Kassidy are consistent with that of battered child syndrome," Greenwald said. Jurors will not see new evidence until Monday, when they are called back to Strafford County Superior Court and the defense team begins to call their witnesses.

14 December 2001  "Jury gets details of battered girl's injuries" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — Maine's chief medical examiner showed jurors autopsy photos Thursday of the toddler who died of blunt-force injuries.
    Kassidy Bortner also suffered multiple bone fractures in her arms and her left leg, Dr. Margaret Greenwald said. She said the 21-month-old girl was a victim of battered child syndrome....
    Prosecutors used an enlarged autopsy photo of Kassidy's face when asking Greenwald to point out the various injuries. In that photograph, Kassidy's eyes were open and swollen. She had bruises all over her head, including a swollen, purple lip and another large bruise about 2 inches long under her left eye. There were a number of abrasions and bruises in other areas of her face.
    Evans also viewed the photos, but showed little reaction.
    Greenwald testified that the autopsy revealed a cluster of hemorrhages under Kassidy's left eye.
    There were several other injuries. Kassidy had bruising on the back of her neck, abdomen, hands, feet, arms, back and legs.
    There were multiple "pinpoint scratches" on the surface of the soles of her feet, which were scabbing, indicating the wounds were aging, Greenwald testified.
    Greenwald estimated that Kassidy had suffered about eight to 10 blunt blows to her skull and at least two similar assaults to her abdomen.
   "Her brain was swollen, which is caused by force impact against the head," Greenwald testified.
    The bruises and abrasions had different ages. The yellowish-brown colored wounds were older injuries, Greenwald told jurors.
    The fresher wounds — such as the red and bruising left eye socket and the swollen lip — were most likely inflicted 12 hours prior to the time of death. Prosecutors contend   

Kassidy would have been in Evans' care 12 hours before she died.
    The toddler also suffered from several bone fractures, Greenwald said.
    The fractures in her left and right forearms would have been caused by a twisting motion, Greenwald testified. The right arm was healing and was most likely fractured three to six weeks prior to her death, Greenwald said.
    Kassidy also suffered two fractures in her left leg, just above the knee. One fracture was  inflicted about two months before her death and the other was new, perhaps just days old, Greenwald testified.
    Evans told Kassidy's mother and police that Kassidy was hit with a baseball the night before she died.
    But Greenwald told jurors that's an unlikely story.
   "The eye could have been hit by a ball, but probably not," she testified. "It is not completely consistent with those injuries."
    Instead, Greenwald said the wound would more likely have been inflicted with something like a cup or a spoon.
    But some of Kassidy's injuries were determined to be caused anywhere from one to 24 hours prior to her death, and three people were watching her during that time — Amanda Bortner, Chad Evans, and the baby sitter, F. Jeffrey Marshall. Greenwald testified that she estimates other injuries would have been inflicted four hours before she died, which would have possibly put the toddler in Marshall's care....
    Defense attorney Mark Sisti cross-examined Greenwald and asked if those injuries could have been inflicted while Kassidy had been in Marshall's care. Greenwald told the jury it would be possible.
    Greenwald also told jurors Kassidy suffered from battered child syndrome.
Symptoms of the syndrome include repeated injuries over time, a delay in medical treatment and bogus excuses about the injuries offered by the parent or guardian of the child.
   "It would be unusual if all children (in the same household) are being abused," Greenwald added.
Kassidy had multiple bruises, internal bleeding and fractures, according to Greenwald. Evans and Amanda Bortner, Greenwald said, did not seek medical attention for the child's injuries. Evans also has a son, who was 3 at the time of Kassidy's death....

14 December 2001 "State rests in Evans trial - Doctor: baby was victim of battered child syndrome" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The final witness for the prosecution in the Chad E. Evans murder trial trestified that 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner was a victim of battered child syndrome....

    [Maine Chief Medical Examiner Margaret] Greenwald testified that Kassidy suffered blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen - either of which could have been the ultimate cause of her death....

13 December 2001"Jury sees Evans in taped interview with investigators" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Murder suspect Chad Evans held the jury's focus yesterday as a videotape of his interrogation by Maine State Police was shown by prosecutors....
Detective Lance McCleish of the Maine State Police presented the tape. His interview with Evans was recorded at the Kittery police station the evening of Kassidy's death. Jurors watched a two-hour segment of the tape. Marshall lives with Amanda Bortner's older sister, Jennifer Conley....
  During the recorded interview, Evans detailed for police his actions the night before the little girl died. The defendant's account was consistent with testimony heard Tuesday from his roommate, Travis Hunt, who was home briefly and saw the two together....
Several witnesses testified earlier that Kassidy would not put her hands out in front of her to catch herself when she fell.
  The state also has lodged two first-degree assault charges against Evans for breaking her arm and leg. A half-dozen, second-degree assault charges allege more physical abuse.
  Evans also told police that Kassidy was hit in the eye with a ball that his son hit when they were playing that night. He said Kassidy immediately fell over but did not cry. Instead, he said, she "whimpered."
"She died from major trauma," investigators told Evans in response to the accidents he suggested. "You're the cause of these injuries."...
  McCleish also confronted him with a report of holding the child's face under a faucet to stop her from crying. "I splashed water on her," Evans said. "I didn't hold her face under the water."

  "What . . . kind of father throws water on a kid's face when they're crying and sick?" police yelled back at Evans.
  Evans was not under arrest during the interview with police, although police had read him his rights. Evans told police he wanted to leave shortly after refusing to look at the photos, at which time police told him he could not go home and his car would be impounded.

13 December 2001 "Jury hears taped police interview with Evans"  Portsmouth Herald, by the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. — Shortly before his arrest, a former Rochester man on trial in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 21-month-old daughter told police they should have no mercy on whoever killed the girl....
    On Wednesday, prosecutors played a videotape of an interview Evans gave to police in Kittery, Maine. The child died at the Kittery home of Jeffrey Marshall, who was babysitting her at the time.
    On the tape, Evans is asked by investigators what should happen to the person who killed Kassidy.
   "Probably string ‘em up," he replied.
    During the interview, Evans told police that the night before the girl died he picked her up from Marshall’s home, noticed she was acting strangely and that she fell over when he stood her up in his driveway.
    Evans’ lawyers have said their client is innocent, and that the real killer is Marshall. They said Kassidy only began to show bruising after Marshall and his girlfriend, Jennifer Conley, Amanda Bortner’s sister, began babysitting.
    During the interview, police told Evans the injuries that killed Kassidy were inflicted the night before she died.
   "She was with me last night and she was also with Jeff last night," Evans said.
Evans also said he was unaware of the injuries police were talking about and repeatedly refused to look at pictures of the child taken after she had died. The photographs show Kassidy badly bruised.
    Earlier in the trial Amanda Bortner backed off statements she initially made to police in which she blamed Evans for her daughter’s death. She testified she did not believe her boyfriend was responsible for the injuries.
    But she did acknowledge that he would roughly grab the child’s face to get her to stop crying, and that she and Evans would lie to people to explain the bruises that resulted from those grabs....

13 December 2001 "Jury sees videotape of Evans' interview" Keene Sentinel, from Foster's Daily Democrat and the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Shortly before he was charged with the beating death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter, a former Keene school board member told police they should have no mercy on whoever killed the girl....

    In the interview, police told Evans the injuries that killed Kassidy were inflicted the night before she died....

13 December 2001 "Jury hears about Bortner - Evans says in taped statement to police that she would hit Kassidy, call her names" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The man accused of killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner told police her mother hit her and called her "the little bitch" in the weeks before her death....   On the videotape, Evans denied ever abusing Kassidy and told police he was not responsible for Kassidy's death.

   "Amanda would sometimes hit her. She bruised from that," Evans told police during the interview, stating he thought Kassidy was anemic at the time.

13 December 2001 "Evans: I didn't do it - Murder suspect told police during interview he didn't want tot's death 'pinned' on him"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  [The photo in the article was of NH Hampshire State Police Sergeant William Magee holding a brown plastic bat. It was not specifically identified at the trial as being the bat that Kyle Evans used to hit the ball that hit Kassidy Bortner's left eye, but it was identified in 2010 by Chad Evans as being that bat.]

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Hours after Kassidy Bortner's death, the man who would later be charged with her murder told police he knew the day before there was something wrong with her.   "Maybe I could have prevented this if I'd just taken her to the hospital," Chad E. Evans told Maine State Police detectives during the first moments of his interview with them on the night of Nov. 9, 2000....   Jurors in the trial spent most of Wednesday afternoon watching a videotape of his interview with police, which began about 7:30 p.m. on the day Kassidy died.

[To read the transcript of that interview, click TRANSCRIPT]

12 December 2001 "Testimony will stand - Motion to dismiss account by Evans' former cellmate denied by judge"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Prosecutors in the Chad E. Evans murder trial received good news Tuesday afternoon when a Strafford County Superior Court judge ruled not to dismiss testimony from his former cellmate.. ruling came after Cory Merrill's testimony under cross-examination by defense attorney Mark Sisti on Monday included statements related to his guilty plea last April on sexual assault charges. Merrill denied committing the crime in court Monday, although under oath in April he pleaded guilty in the same courtroom. He is currently incarcerated at New Hampshire State Prison in Concord....

  Merrill is expected to take the stand this morning and the state is in the process fo verifying reports that a correctional officer overheard the November 2000 conversation between Merrill and Evans about Kassidy's death.

12 December 2001   "Judge allows cellmate's testimony to stand" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — Prosecutors questioned Cory Merrill, the former cellmate of Chad E. Evans, but when defense attorneys attempted to cross-examine the witness Tuesday, Merrill took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any more questions....
    Merrill, who shared a cell with the defendant at the Strafford County Jail, told the jury Monday that Evans appeared depressed after he was arrested and said Evans told him he used a belt to strike 21-month-old Kassidy....
   "This is a very unique, strange situation," Sisti said. "Credibility is essential in this case."
    But Judge Tina Nadeau denied Sisti's request and said she would allow Merrill's testimony.
    New Hampshire Attorney General Philip T. McLaughlin attended the trial Tuesday, but declined comment about the case.
    Evans' ex-wife, Tristan Evans, continued her testimony Tuesday morning.
    Evans defended her ex-husband and told jurors she didn't believe the defendant harmed Kassidy.
    When prosecutor Simon Brown asked Tristan Evans if she still loved the defendant, she replied she was not in love with him, but loves him "in ways."
    She said she is still close with her ex-husband and would like their 4-year-old son to continue having a relationship with his father, but only if he's not incarcerated.
    Evans admitted she had suspected Kassidy was being abused. In fact, she told jurors that she had contacted the Division of Children, Youth and Families on Oct. 31, 2000, and anonymously reported that Kassidy had bruises on her face and neck area.
    And she testified that "out of curiosity" she checked their son for bruises.
She said she told the defendant, "I'll kill you," if she ever found bruises on their son.... 

12 December 2001 "Jury hears more from ex-wife of man charged in baby death" Union Leader by Josh Adams (with contribution from Associated Press)

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Though physical abuse led to their divorce, Chad Evans' ex-wife defended him yesterday against charges he beat a baby to death.
  In her second day of testimony, Tristan Evans, again said she never suspected her former husband of hurting 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, his girlfriend's daughter....
At the time of his arrest, he was on probation for domestic assault against his ex-wife, and she cited physical abuse as a factor in their divorce.
  However, that information has been kept from the jury, which heard Tristan Evans describe her ex-husband as a good father to their 3-year-old son.
Evans also testified she noticed suspicious bruises on Kassidy in October, a few weeks before the toddler died. Evans told her the girl fell off a trampoline; Amanda Bortner said her daughter fell down the stairs.
"There were two excuses given for the same injuries," Evans said. "I questioned those answers. She gave the wrong answer."
  Evans said she did not suspect her ex-husband of causing the injuries, but reported what she saw to state social workers. She made the anonymous call Oct. 31, nine days before Kassidy's death....
  Defense attorneys Alan Cronheim and Mark Sisti contend that Marshall is the real killer. He began watching Kassidy about four or five weeks before she died at his home more than a year ago.
  One of the witnesses, Travis Hunt, 27, has been living with the defendant since September of last year, he told jurors yesterday in Strafford County Superior Court.
Hunt testified the little girl frequently had bruises on her face, and she was "a little slow."
"She always had bruises, not necessarily the same ones, but she always had bruises," Hunt said. Hunt met Evans in 1993, when the two began working together at a McDonald's restaurant in Rochester. Evans was the store manager at the time.
  He described the bruises to jurors as being on her cheeks, where Evans is alleged to have grabbed the young girl repeatedly to get her to stop crying.
The night before Kassidy died, Hunt said as he was leaving to visit a friend he saw Evans with Kassidy in a nurturing way.
  After giving Kassidy a bath, at which time Hunt said he noticed bruises on her face and shin, Evans held the girl in his arms while she ate a frozen ice-pop. He told jurors that Evans was pointing to different parts of the face and the girl was mimicking the defendant, learning the various body parts.
  Also on the evening of Nov. 8, 2000, Hunt said Evans told him of several incidents where the girl was injured. One involved the defendant's four-year-old son, Kyle, hitting a pitched ball into Kassidy's eye, leaving a mark.
  Under direct examination from Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown, Hunt said Evans called him at work the day Kassidy died and reminded Hunt that he had seen the girl the night before.

   "He reminded me that I had seen her the night before and that she was fine," Hunt said to the jury repeating Evans' words. "Do you remember how I hit her with the ball."
During cross-examination Hunt said he did not feel like Evans was coaching him or pressuring him in any way.
  Detective Herbert Leighton of the Maine State Police also testified for the state....

12 December 2001 "Many saw bruises before tot's death - Evans murder trial continues for seventh day today" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Witnesses in the Chad E. Evans murder trial all say they saw bruises on the child he allegedly abused, but that's where the agreement ends....

    [Tristan Evans testified] "I called [DCYF} on Chad because it was his home where she [Kassidy] was... I also said I didn't believe he did it," she testified Tuesday morning....

    Following their testimony, most of the state's witnesses have walked from the witness stand out of the courtroom only to return and sit with Evans' parents, family and friends. of the 10 non-law enforcement witnesses the state called between Monday and Tuesday, a total of five of them - Tristan Evans, Vanessa Mansson, Travis Hunt, Irene Ricci and Jeremy Hinton - gathered with Evans' supporters in the courtroom and outside in the lobby.

    Bortner, too, was in court on Tuesday. Although she did not enter the courtroom, she was surrounded by Evans' family and friends in the lobby and waited there for him through the proceedings.

11 December 2001 "They lived like honeymooners - Evans' chjildhood sweetheart recalls his relationship with Bortner after Kassidy's death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The man accused of killing Kassidy Bortner listened in court Monday as his childhood sweetheart testified he and the toddlers mother lived together "like honeymooners" after her death.   Vanessa Mansson of Keene testified......

   Tracey Foley and Melissa Chick both testified about witnessing bruises on Kassidy and Foley testified she had asked Bortner to bring Kassidy and live with her in the Sanford area in October....

   Chick, who went to high school with Bortner, did attend Kassidy's funeral and she cried softly as she recalled the day.    The 21-year-old began working for the Springvale YMCA's daycare on Sept 10, 2000, she testified - which is why she said she could recall seeing serious bruises on Kassidy's body during the first days of that month. Chick said she took care of Kassidy for Evans and Bortner so that they could have some time to themselves and knew it had to be prior to taking her job.

   The state also called Cory Merrill, Evans' cellmate at Strafford County House of Corrections for the six days he spent there prior to making bail in November 2000....

11 December 2001 "Evans' ex-wife: I told DCYF of suspected abuse"   Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — The state called several more witnesses Monday to testify against a man accused of beating to death 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner....
    Tristan Evans agreed that she had suspected Kassidy was abused. In fact, she told jurors, she had contacted the Division of Children, Youth and Families on Oct. 31, 2000 and anonymously reported that Kassidy had bruises on her face and neck area.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown asked Tristan Evans why she didn't use her name when she called DCYF.
   "To take the step to call DCYF is serious," she responded. "If I were incorrect with the claim, I didn't want to cause animosity."
    Tristan Evans told the jury she didn't know who may have been abusing the toddler, but indicated to DCYF that she didn't think her ex-husband would harm the child....
    Tristan Evans testified that on Nov. 8, 2000 she called Chad Evans and asked him about the multiple bruises on the toddler's face and the child's withdrawn behavior.
    She said that Chad Evans told her, "I think she's retarded or something."
    Kassidy died the next day from blunt force trauma to her head and abdomen, autopsy reports introduced at the trial revealed....
   "I first thought she was dirty," Tristan Evans told jurors. "I leaned down and said 'Hey baby girl' and then noticed the bruising."
    Bortner explained that Kassidy had fallen down the stairs, Tristan Evans testified. But when she spoke later with Chad Evans, he said the girl had almost fallen off a trampoline and Evans had caught her, grabbing her by the face, Tristan said to the jury.
    Last week, Bortner testified she and Evans made up the trampoline excuse to tell people why Kassidy had the bruises.... 

11 December 2001 "Ex-wife testifies in Evans' trial"  Keene Sentinel, from Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer Saunders

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - Although she filed domestic assault charges against him while they were married, Chad E. Evans' ex-wife testified Monday in court he would not have beaten Kassidy Bortner.   Evans, 30, a former member of the Keene Board of Education...

   Tristan Evans said that she was at the house almost every other day due to a custody arrangement she and Evans had for their then 3-year-old son....

10 December 2001 (Monday) "Evans trial continues - Today's proceedings begin second week"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The trial of the man accused of beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death was scheduled to resume this morning in Strafford County Superior Court....

   Evans' family and friends have been in court each day, watching the proceedings on one side of the room while Kassidy's grandmother, great-aunt and members of Marshall's family sat on the opposite side of the room.

8 December 2001  "Baby's aunt testifies in murder trial" by Amy Wallace, Portsmouth Herald

The article begins...

DOVER — The baby sitter who defense attorneys allege is Kassidy Bortner's real killer stepped down from the witness stand Friday and stared into the eyes of the man accused of beating the toddler to death, holding the glare for several seconds.
   F. Jeffrey Marshall gave testimony for the second day on Friday in the trial of Chad E. Evans, 30, who is charged with second-degree murder. Jurors heard testimony from five witnesses Friday as proceedings continued in Strafford County Superior Court.
   Defense attorneys have labeled Marshall, who frequently baby-sat the child in the weeks before she died, the prosecution's "star witness." Marshall was watching Kassidy the day in his Kittery, Maine, home the day she died and was the last person to see her alive.
    Jennifer Conley, who is Kassidy's aunt and Marshall's live-in girlfriend, testified against Evans on Friday shortly after Marshall left the witness stand. Conley and Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, are sisters.
   Conley told jurors Kassidy had a regular routine when Amanda dropped her off at their Kittery home. Kassidy would sit on the toilet and watch Conley while she put on makeup, Conley testified.
   "She would put out her lips," Conley said, pouting her own lips to show the jury, "and say 'lips, lips, lips' and I'd put lipstick on her."  But the morning of Nov. 9, 2000, was anything but ordinary for Kassidy, according to Conley.
   Like Marshall, Conley testified that Bortner dropped off her daughter around 8 a.m., placing the toddler on the bed with Marshall and Conley. That morning, Kassidy didn't want to go with her aunt to put on makeup, Conley told the jurors. In fact, she didn't want to be touched at all.

8 December 2001 "Babysitter, sister, brother testify at Evans trial" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- The testimony of three witnesses in the murder trial of Chad Evans gave concurring reports yesterday on the alleged abuse of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner by the defendant.
  Jurors heard yesterday from Jennifer Conley, Joshua Bortner and Jeffrey Marshall, each of whom said that bruises on the young girl's face did not appear until Kassidy's mother, 19-year-old Amanda Bortner, began dating the defendant.... Amanda Bortner's younger brother, Joshua Bortner, 16, testified that Kassidy was a happy child while the girl lived with him and his mother immediately after being born. He told jurors that Kassidy was not prone to accidents or bruises during that time, and when his other sister's boyfriend, Marshall, came to visit, the infant and Marshall played well together.
"They were really nice to each other," he said. "He used to bring her stuff, presents and things. He was really good to her."...
  Sisti alleged that on Oct. 22 of last year, Marshall brought Kassidy to Evans' home in Rochester and told Bortner her daughter had been troublesome, "so I gave her a spanking."
  Marshall said he did not remember ever saying that, but Sisti countered that when such a large man says something like that, it would stick in a mother's memory. "This 6-foot-3, 240-pound guy would never say anything like that," Marshall responded.
Jennifer Conley agreed with her brother that Kassidy was a "fun-loving baby" free of bruises and injuries prior to her sister's involvement with the defendant. She said bruises on the child's face were constant after moving into Evans' home.
"They'd start to fade and then another bruise would appear, then they'd start to fade and another bruise would appear," she testified. "Or they came back darker."
Both siblings said they heard several different excuses from their sister about where the bruises came from, none of which blamed the defendant.
  However, the morning of Kassidy's death when Bortner dropped her daughter off at her sister's home for Marshall to baby-sit, Jennifer Conley said her sister blamed Evans' for the severe bruising that was on the girl's face.
  She recalled her sister saying that it appeared bad.
"Look what he did," Conley said her sister said.
During Marshall's testimony on Wednesday, he recalled Evans calling him four times the eve of Kassidy's death, complaining of the girl's physical condition. Marshall said this was odd because the defendant had never before called him, let alone four times in one evening.
  Marshall babysat Kassidy for about an hour and a half on Nov. 8, 2000, and then Evans picked her up. Telephone records show that Evans called the first time roughly 15 minutes after leaving Kittery, and according to testimony, stated that Kassidy was acting strangely. The three other calls made that night are of similar content, describing incidents such as Kassidy being hit in the face with a ball, according to both Marshall and the defense.
  In agreement with testimony from Amanda Bortner earlier in the week, Marshall said he did put makeup on Kassidy's face once to cover bruises. He testified that he was going shopping at Wal-Mart and wanted to cover the bruises when he took the girl into public.
Marshall said the reason he was watching Kassidy in the first place was so Evans would not have to put the child into day care where the bruises would be viewed suspiciously. He testified he put the makeup on to help cover for Bortner and the defendant. .....

8 December 2001 "Babysitter denies harming toddler in murder trial" Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press by Mike Recht.

Excerpts from the article....

DOVER - A couple who frequently baby-sat a toddler before she was beaten to death last year shifted the blamed Friday back to the man charged with the crime....

   Marshall and his girlfriend, Jennifer Conley, often watched Kassidy at their Kittery, Maine home in the month before her death....

   Conley, 21, said she asked her sister why she needed her to baby-sit so often, and was told that she was worried another baby sitter would notice the bruises and the child could be taken away from her....

    Asked why she [Conley] didn't tell police that was not correct, she said he didn't remember what she told police.

   "I told them what they wanted to know," she said....

8 December 2001 "Agency told toddler was being abused"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - A little more than a week before Kassidy Bortner died, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services received a report the toddler was being abused.

   During the fourth day of testimony in the trial...a case worker from the Rochester office of the Division of Children, Youth and Families testified to being alerted Nov 1, 2000 of an anonymous report alleging bruises on Kassidy's face and neck...

8 December 2001 "Relatives take the stand - Kassidy's aunt says bruises began after child lived with Evans"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - Emotions ran high as Kassidy Bortner's aunt and uncle both testified in court Friday that the toddler never had bruises before living in her accused killer's home....

7 December 2001  "Baby sitter: I did not hurt Kassidy" by Amy Wallace, Portsmouth HeraldThe article begins...

DOVER — Kassidy Bortner's baby sitter testified Thursday in the trial of her alleged killer. Shaking his head firmly, the baby sitter insisted he did nothing to hurt the 21-month-old girl.
   Prosecutors called F. Jeffrey Marshall to testify against his former friend Chad E. Evans, 30, who is accused of second-degree murder in the November 2000 beating death of Kassidy. Marshall was baby-sitting Kassidy in his Kittery, Maine, home the day she died and he was the last person to see her alive.
   Defense attorneys contend Marshall is the "real killer" and should be the man on trial for Kassidy's death.
   Testimony resumed Thursday in Strafford County Superior Court with Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, 19. Detective Sgt. James White of the New Hampshire State Police also testified, followed by Marshall, who was labeled as the prosecution's "star witness" by defense attorneys.
   Marshall said he and his girlfriend Jennifer Conley, who is also Kassidy's aunt, had watched the girl frequently for several weeks prior to her death.
   He had noticed bruises on Kassidy's face, head, arms and legs, Marshall told jurors.
   He said he lightly spanked Kassidy on her buttocks when she was wearing only a diaper, but said he did not hurt her.
   The baby-sitting arrangement was only supposed to last a short time, until the bruises and marks faded so Kassidy could be taken to day care, Marshall said. But the marks frequently returned, Marshall told jury members.
   Kassidy's mental condition also deteriorated over time, he said.
   "Kassidy would stare at the wall in the living room and it got worse and more frequently over time," he testified.
   Marshall told jurors that he confronted Evans about the behavior and Evans told him she stands there like that because he often makes her stare at the wall as punishment for bad behavior.


7 December 2001 "Kassidy's grandmother barred from courtroom, asked her daughter to tell the truth"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders (See the same story in the Keene Sentinel, "Grandmother: Truth needed in trial")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - As Amanda Bortner prepared to testify in her boyfriend's murder trial, her mother asked her to tell the truth -- and moments later found herself barred from the courtroom.   "I asked Amanda to tell the truth. To tell Kassidy's truth," Jacqueline Conley told Foster's Daily Democrat on Thursday....

   "I know it was Chad," Conley said, denying the defense's position that F. Jeffery Marshall, who periodically baby-sat for Kassidy, beat the child to death....

   Conley said Kassidy called Marshall "Uncle Jeffy" and had no fear of him....

   Prior to Bortner's testimony, her mother sat outside holding a doll that was Kassidy's and a photograph album filled with the child's pictures.

   "She lies," she said softly, shaking her head when asked to describe [Amanda] Bortner."

7 December 2001 "Babysitter denies harming Rochester baby"  Union leader by Josh AdamsExcerpts from the article...

DOVER -- The man the defense claims is the real killer took the stand yesterday to testify against Chad Evans, who's charged with murder and various assaults in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....
  "We're blaming you for Kassidy's death," Sisti told Marshall moments after he took the stand.
   "If that's what you must do to try to get somebody off who did it," Marshall responded....
  Bortner and Marshall testified they couldn't remember certain details about various conversations they had had with investigators and other witnesses. Oftentimes, both witnesses contradicted statements they had given to police within the last year.
  Jurors also heard from the lead investigator in the case, New Hampshire State Police Detective Sgt. James White, who told the court that despite his role in the investigation, he never interviewed Marshall or went to the home where the baby died. White testified that Maine State Police handled those parts of the investigation....

7 December 2001 "Sitter Remorseful - Defense laying blame on baby sitter for Kassidy's death" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The name of the game was finger-pointing and laying blame as testimony continued Thursday in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Kassidy Bortner....  When it was his turn to take the stand, Marshall told the jury that he is guilty of failing to seek help for Kassidy after seeing her many bruises and watching her steadily decline from a happy, outgoing toddler to one who was slow, quiet and withdrawn.  "Looking back, there's no excuse. But it was Jen's sister, number one and number two, this was a guy I did business with - we were friends with... I've got to live with it and it's the worst thing I've ever done," Marshall told the jury....

   Bortner was back on the stand prior to Marshall's testimony Thursday morning, continuing her allegations that it was Marshall who inflicted Kassidy's fatal injuries....   When asked if Evans played roughly with her [Kassidy], she testified he would throw her up in the air or swing her around by her legs.   "She would laugh. she like it," Bortner said....

   During a break in the proceedings, Judge Tina L. Nadeau ruled in favor of a motion by the state to preclude Cronheim and Sisti from introducing testimony that Marshall first told police after Kassidy's death that he would be willing to take a polygraph and later refused.

6 December 2001 "Murdered baby's mother sees photos, cries out" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- A distraught Amanda Bortner was escorted from the courtroom yesterday after viewing photos of the bruised and beaten body of her daughter, ending the second day of testimony in the Chad Evans trial....

  "You told police, 'Oh my God, her face did not look like that when I dropped her off,'" Cronheim said of a statement Bortner made to police last year when she saw the same pictures.
"Yes," Bortner replied through tears....
  She also testified there were no bruises on Kassidy before she dropped her off at Marshall's.
   "In changing her diaper, did you see any bruising in her abdomen area?" Cronheim asked during cross-examination. "No," answered Bortner.

6 December 2001 "I never thought it hurt her"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy WallaceExcerpts from the article...

DOVER — Amanda Bortner took the stand Wednesday and burst into tears when a defense attorney showed her a picture of her dead 21-month-old daughter Kassidy covered with bruises from her head to her tiny feet.
    Defense attorney Alan J. Cronheim handed Bortner the photograph during his cross-examination in Strafford County Superior Court. Bortner glanced at it quickly and then immediately pushed the picture away.
    "Oh my God, I can't look at that," Bortner said, then covered her mouth and began to cry....
    Kassidy's 19-year-old mother on Wednesday told jurors she witnessed Evans handling the child roughly, sometimes leaving bruises on her face. She also testified that Kassidy had often come home from her baby sitter's house with bruises and marks on her body.   

   The sitter, F. Jeffrey Marshall, is the focus of defense lawyers' strategy. They allege that Marshall, and not Evans, was responsible for the toddler's death....
    Also giving testimony was a York Hospital emergency room physician who was working the day the ambulance transported Kassidy into the ER. He told the jury he knew the toddler was dead on arrival....
    Bortner left the courtroom crying, and her sobs echoed in the lobby. Evans then began to cry as he sat in the open courtroom....
    When Bortner saw the picture of her deceased daughter, she testified that Kassidy did not have those bruises when she dropped her off at Marshall's home on Nov. 9.
    Police showed Bortner the photos of Kassidy's body the night she died, and Bortner testified that she said to the police, "Oh my God, she did not look like that when I dropped her off."
    Bortner reiterated that Kassidy had only a few bruises on her face, but there were none on her torso, legs or arms....
    Kassidy often had "temper tantrums," which irritated both Evans and Marshall, Bortner testified.
   "She'd kick and scream on the floor," Bortner told jurors. "Chad (Evans) would get mad and at first he'd put her in her room for time out."
    But Evans' patience would grow thin with Kassidy, Bortner said, and over time he began to grab the little girl by the face, sometimes leaving bruises.
   "Kassidy would scream and cry when he grabbed her," Bortner said, rocking slowly back and forth in the witness chair. "I never thought it hurt her until I saw bruises."
Bortner said she and Evans made up an excuse to tell people why Kassidy had those bruises. They told people the girl had almost fell off a trampoline and Evans caught her, grabbing her by the face.
    Bortner told jurors that in the month prior to Kassidy's death, Evans would roughly place Kassidy in the corner for a "time out." Bortner then added she told police Evans "might have grabbed her by the neck and tossed her in the corner."
   "I know I said that, but at the time I was overwhelmed," she said.
    Bortner told jurors that she was holding Kassidy once while Evans grabbed and tugged on the girl's leg, adding, "He then said something under his breath like, 'I wish she wasn't here.'"
    Bortner testified that one day, she heard the sink running and Kassidy crying in the bathroom. She said Evans walked out of the bathroom and said he had splashed water on Kassidy's face to get her to stop crying.
   "She was crying real bad. He was frustrated. Mad," Bortner said. She said Kassidy was scared of the sink when Bortner used it to wash her hands.
Bortner told the jury Evans wasn't the only one who had a temper when it came to Kassidy. The toddler often came home from the baby sitter's house with bruises and other marks on her body, she said.
    Kassidy came home from Marshall's house with two black-and-blue marks on the back of her head and Bortner said Marshall explained that she had fallen out of his truck.
Bortner testified that Marshall once told her Kassidy had drank Windex but didn't seek medical attention.
    Marshall brought Kassidy home one night with makeup covering a bruise on her face, Bortner told the jury. "He said the dog knocked her over."
    Bortner testified that Marshall told her he tripped over Kassidy's foot or leg and stepped on her by accident, and that's why Kassidy was "walking funny."
    She said both Evans and Marshall called Kassidy names like "b----" and "retard."
    On Nov. 8, 2000, Kassidy was very quiet, Bortner said.
    "Her eyes rolled back in her head as I held her on the couch. I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' I rationalized that she was just falling asleep."
    The morning Kassidy died was not a typical day, Bortner told jurors.
Kassidy usually got herself up in the mornings and would crawl into bed with Bortner and Evans, Bortner said. But on Nov. 9, Bortner went to her daughter's room and found Kassidy lying face down on her bed and crying. Bortner changed the toddler's diaper and said she didn't see any bruises. Kassidy was quiet with not much energy that day, Bortner said....
    Kassidy slept in the car that day on the ride from Rochester to Marshall's house in Kittery, Bortner said.... 

6 December 2001"Mother of beaten baby points finger at baby sitter"  Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press, by J. M. Hirsch

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. - Prosecutors began trying to poke holes Thursday in the testimony of a woman who says she still loves the man accused of killing her daughter....
    Asked by prosecutors how she feels about Evans now, Amanda Bortner said Thursday:    ''I love him. I miss him.''
    In the days after the toddler's death, Bortner told police Evans had been abusing her daughter for more than a month, grabbing Kassidy's face and throwing her against walls, choking her until she gagged to get her to stop crying and picking her up by the head when he was angry.
    But at Evans' trial Wednesday, Bortner, 19, backed off her earlier claims that Evans frequently abused the girl and began implicating another man: the toddler's babysitter, Jeffrey Marshall....
    Bortner testified Wednesday that Kassidy came back from Marshall's home one day with makeup covering a bruise. But she never told police that, Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown noted.
    ''I don't think I remembered it until I got my thoughts together, until afterward,'' Bortner said. ''It's hard to tell something when they think the other person did it, and they don't want to hear about anyone else.''
    Brown asked, ''Things became more clear in your nine months with Chad?''
    ''Things became more clear when I started going to church and became a Christian,'' Bortner said. ''God helped me.''
    According to Brown, Bortner also told a friend she didn't think Marshall or his girlfriend harmed her child. Marshall lived with Bortner's sister in Kittery, Maine, where Kassidy died.
    ''They're both so good with Kassidy. I know my sister would never do this to me. I know Jeffrey would never do this to me,'' Brown quoted her as saying.
    But Bortner said Thursday she didn't remember ever saying that.
    Marshall took the stand late Thursday morning, saying he had once spanked Kassidy very lightly, but not hard enough to cause the bruises he frequently saw on her.
    He said he noticed bruises ''all along her face area, her arms, the top of her head ... just different bruises all the time,'' he said. ''Some of them in my opinion looked like someone had grabbed her.''
    ''Sometimes they were yellowing, kind of fading away,'' he said. ''Then the next day, there would be new ones right in the same places.''
    Marshall began dating Bortner's sister about two years ago, and said he never saw injuries on Kassidy until Bortner began seeing Evans.
    He said Evans and Bortner offered various explanations for the injuries when confronted.
    ''(Evans) was concerned that certain people would see the bruises and jump to conclusions that he was beating her,'' he said. ''He basically didn't want to bring her out in public.''
    On Wednesday, Bortner said Evans ''might have'' grabbed Kassidy by the neck and thrown her against a wall.
    Reminded of her statements to police, Bortner said, ''I know I said that, but at the time, I was overwhelmed.''
    Her testimony ended abruptly Wednesday afternoon when she broke down after being shown photos of her battered, dead daughter.
    ''Oh, my God!'' she said, pushing the photos away from her.
    Bortner was shown similar photos the day after the toddler died. Under questioning by Evans' lawyers, she said she told police Kassidy did not look like that when she was left with Marshall the day the girl died.
    As Evans appeared to wipe away tears, Bortner told the judge she couldn't concentrate and asked to take a break. The trial was suspended until Thursday.
    ''She didn't look like that! She didn't look like that!'' Bortner yelled as she left the courtroom.
    An emergency room doctor testified that Kassidy's body was covered in bruises. But Bortner said that other than some on the child's face, she never saw any others.
    Under questioning by defense lawyers, however, Bortner later said she recalled seeing bruises on the girl's bottom after she returned from Marshall's home.
    Bortner said she noticed a bruise on Kassidy's face the night before she died, and that Evans told her Kassidy had gotten hit in the face with a whiffle ball while he was playing with his son.
    ''I saw the little red mark around her left eye from the ball,'' she said. ''I saw a little bit of fading from Chad grabbing, or it might have been Jeff.''
    Bortner, who now lives in Laconia, initially refused to testify for the state, but agreed after being charged last month with two counts of child endangerment and being offered immunity from prosecution for anything she says on the stand.

6 December 2001 "Bortner blames sitter - Admits murder suspect Evans grabbed toddler by face with enough force to leave bruises"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See Keene Sentinel article from the Associated Press, "Dead baby's mom: Evans didn't treat girl too badly")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner isn't denying her boyfriend repeatedly bruised her daughter's face, but she has changed her story about who she believes killed the 21-month-old girl....

   On the witness stand, Bortner insinuated it was not Evans but her sister's boyfriend and Kassidy's babysitter, F. Jefferey Marshall, who inflicted the injuries that caused her death....

   When asked about specific statements she made after Kassidy's death, Bortner said, "It's hard to remember everything I said to different people last year."...

   Answering Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown's questions, Bortner spoke affectionately of her first date with Evans in June 2000 and admitted lying about her age at the time because she "really liked him." Bortner also testified that had Evans not been incarcerated in August, she would still be living with him....

   Brown asked several times if, other than the facial bruising Evans alleged inflicted, Bortner had ever seen any other signs of abuse on Kassidy's body, "No, I never did. I never did," she testified....

    Later Cronheim [on cross-examination] began listing several incidents in which Kassidy allegedly sustained injuries in Marshall's care....

    In each instance, Bortner recalled specific bruises or marks on Kassidy's body, including one occasion where Marshall allegedly addmitted he spanked the child, who was wearing a diaper.

   "Her whole butt was black and blue. It was really bad," Bortner testified....  

5 December 2001 "Murder Blame Game" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy WallaceExcerpts from the article...

DOVER — As the trial of one of the most high-profile murder cases in recent memory began Tuesday, defense attorneys for accused murderer Chad E. Evans pointed their fingers at the prosecution's "star witness" as the person responsible for killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner....
    Be suspect of their star witness and his credibility," Sisti told the 15 jurors in Strafford County Superior Court.
    But prosecutors, Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker and Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown, told jurors they were confident they will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Evans is the only reason Kassidy is no longer alive....
    The case has inspired both Maine and New Hampshire legislatures to change laws regarding who is legally responsible to report child abuse....
    The jurors visited the Kittery home, then rode past a Dover day care where Evans' 3-year-old son is cared for, and then to the residence in Rochester where the alleged abuse took place.
    The jury was asked to pay special attention to the views so they could later picture various scenes when asked by the defense and prosecution....
    Prosecutor Delker began by telling the jury that Evans often acted out violently.
"The defendant has a short temper and the day before Kassidy died, his anger exploded," he said.
    Delker told the jurors that Evans' excuses for Kassidy's multiple bruises, wounds and fractured bones were bogus and often absurd.
Toward the end of the toddler's life, she was frequently covered from head to toe in bruises, Delker said.
    The prosecutor told jurors that Evans had a history of making up excuses for Kassidy's physical injuries and marks, which the prosecution claims were made by Evans himself....
    Evans' explanation for a large bruise on Kassidy's skull was that he tossed a baseball to his 3-year-old son and the boy hit the ball with the plastic bat so hard it knocked Kassidy down and she whimpered, Delker told the jurors.
    Delker said when Amanda Bortner arrived home the night of the alleged baseball incident she inquired about Kassidy's condition. A physical confrontation then occurred between Evans and the now 19-year-old mother, Delker said....
    Delker said Evans would call her an "idiot" and a "retard" because of her deteriorating mental state and because she couldn't walk correctly or wouldn't put her hands out to protect herself....
    Evans' attorneys presented a very different view of what happened to the little girl.
"This is a true test of the criminal justice system and what the jury is about," Sisti said in his opening remarks. He then pointed at Evans and said, "Chad is not guilty. We are here to seek justice."
    The defense will show who really killed Kassidy Bortner, Sisti said, claiming that law enforcement officials were too quick in charging Evans and in fact overlooked the possible guilt of the baby sitter....
   "Chad (Evans) has waited for over a year to get here," he continued. "It's a very strange feeling for someone falsely accused to wait one year to clear his name."...

5 December 2001 "Evans defense: Wrong man accused - Lawyers argue evidence points to another suspect"  Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press, by J.M. Hirsch (See similar Associated Press article in 5 December Union Leader, " "Defense: Wrong man accused in baby's death")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Lawyers for a former Keene man on trial for the beating death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter told jurors Tuesday that authorities have the wrong man....   Mark Sisti, a lawyer for Chad Evans of Rochester, said police investigators in Kassidy Bortner's death jumped to conclusions and ignored important evidence that points to another suspect, Jefferey Marshall, the child's baby sitter....

   Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker in his opening remarks described Evans as a man with a raging temper who would grab Kassidy by the face, beat her and throw her against walls....

5 December 2001 "Defense: authorities have wrong man in baby death" Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press, by J.M. Hirsch

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. - The mother of a toddler who was beaten to death last year testified against her boyfriend Wednesday but backed away from her earlier claims that he frequently abused the girl....
    Soon after, Amanda Bortner told police Evans had been abusing her daughter for more than a month grabbing Kassidy's face and throwing her against walls, choking her until she gagged to get her to stop crying, picking her up by the head when he was angry.
But on Wednesday, Bortner, 19, would say only that Evans ''might have'' grabbed Kassidy by the neck and thrown her against a wall.
    Reminded of her statements to police, Bortner said, ''I know I said that, but at the time, I was overwhelmed.''
    Evans did sometimes pick up Kassidy under her arms and roughly place her in the corner when she misbehaved, Bortner said. That happened four or five times over several months, she said, not the three times a week she described to police.
    ''One time I saw him roughly put her there, and when he did, she hit her head,'' Bortner said. ''I didn't think it hurt her.''
    Bortner said Kassidy threw temper tantrums when she saw Evans being affectionate with her mother. To punish her, he would squeeze her face.
    ''He would get frustrated. He would grab her face. Obviously, hard enough to leave bruises,'' she said. ''After he had her attention, he would let go. She would scream and cry. I never thought it hurt her until I saw bruises.''
Earlier Wednesday, an emergency room doctor testified that Kassidy's body was covered in bruises. But Bortner said that other than some on the child's face, she never saw any others.
    Bortner, who now lives in Laconia, initially refused to testify for the state, but agreed after being charged last month with two counts of child endangerment and being offered immunity from prosecution for anything she says on the stand.
    She took the stand late Wednesday morning and was expected to remain the rest of the day.
    She testified that she met Evans in June 2000 on a blind date. Evans was divorced with a young son.
    ''I really liked him,'' she said. ''The one thing that really impressed me about him is that he was a really good father.''...
    Marshall lived with Kassidy's aunt in Kittery, Maine, where the toddler died. He called 911 to report Kassidy wouldn't wake up from a nap, but Sisti said he delayed making the call....
    Kittery Detective Steven Hamel said the first thing Marshall told him was ''This isn't what it looks like.''
   ''I'm not the one that did this,'' he quoted Marshall as saying. ''Talk to Chad. He's the one who's abusing the baby.''

4 December 2001 "Evans trial starts today" Keene Sentinel

The article begins....

DOVER - The trial of a former Keene man accused of killing his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter is expected to focus on the mother's testimony."...

3 December 2001"Trial set to begin for man charged in beating death of baby"  Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press, by J.M. Hirsch

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD, N.H. - The trial of a former Rochester man accused in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl is expected to focus on the testimony of the child's mother the man's live-in girlfriend before and after the child's death....
    The child's mother, Amanda Bortner, 20, of Rochester, was charged last month with child endangerment. Prosecutors say she knew about the abuse but did not try to stop it....
    The prosecution got a boost last week when Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau gave Bortner immunity, protecting her from being prosecuted for anything she says during Evans' trial.
    According to court papers, Bortner has blamed Evans for Kassidy's death from the beginning.
    ''I know you slowly killed my baby,'' she supposedly told Evans the day Kassidy died. ''You wished she had never been born.''
    At Evans' request, Nadeau excluded evidence about his relationship with his former wife, his prior criminal record and probation, his alleged drug use, and details of his sexual interests.
    In March 2000, Evans was convicted of assaulting his then-wife. She later filed for divorce, citing physical abuse and cruelty....
    The day she died, Kassidy was being cared for by an aunt in Kittery, Maine. Charges were filed in New Hampshire because authorities determined that is where the abuse took place....

2 December 2001 "Child Abuse: DCYF intervention policy aired - Infant death, abuse cases: The facts behind three investigations" Foster's Daily Democrat

Kassidy Bortner, 21 months old, died Nov. 9 2000, after suffering a blunt force injury to her head and abdomen...

30 November 2001 "EDITORIAL - Chad Evans and the rules of law"  The case of Chad Evans will soon go before a jury of 12 men and women....  Few of us cherish anything as much as we cherish out children.  The death of a child - most especially allegations of the violent death of an infant at the hands of an adult - evokes the kind of anger seldom felt by any of us.

   Let's keep something in mind, however. Chad Evans is not guilty of any crime until a jury says he is....

29 November 2001  "Mother gets immunity to testify against boyfriend in daughter's death"  Portsmouth Herald from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER, N.H. -- A former Rochester woman has been granted immunity to testify against her boyfriend, who is charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of her 21-month-old daughter.
    Amanda Bortner, 19, is expected to take the stand against Chad Evans, 30, who also is charged with felony assault in the death of Kassidy Bortner.
Bortner was in Strafford County Superior Court on Monday for a hearing to determine whether her testimony would jeopardize her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
    Judge Tina Nadeau ruled that if Bortner testified she could incriminate herself.
''The judge granted immunity and she (Bortner) will be testifying,'' Senior Assistant Attorney General William Delker said Wednesday.
    Delker said Bortner still could be charged in her daughter's death. The immunity relates specifically to her testimony in Evans' trial, he said.
    ''Nothing she says during the trial can be used against her,'' Delker said. ...
Evans was charged in New Hampshire because police said they determined the alleged abuse occurred in their Rochester home.

30 November 2001 "Mom gets immunity to testify at trial in daughter's death" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Amanda Bortner received immunity Wednesday when a judge ruled that her testimony is necessary in the murder trial of Chad Evans, who has been charged with killing Bortner's 21-month-old daughter, Kassidy Bortner....
   "In this case, the court finds Amanda Bortner's testimony is necessary to the public interest because . . . she was the only person to view the defendant's alleged abuse of Kassidy Bortner," Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau said in her ruling.
    The charges against Bortner are still pending, according to Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker. He said the immunity grant simply means that anything Bortner says while testifying cannot be used to prosecute her.
    The two charges against Bortner were filed on the anniversary of her daughter's death, just before the statute of limitations expired for doing so....
"We're pleased she's testifying," Cronheim said of the immunity.
Nadeau also ruled on Wednesday that details of much of Evans' past will not be admissible during the trial.
    Specifically, the ruling lists Evans' previous marriage to Tristan Evans; alleged drug abuse; his prior criminal record; and his interest in pornographic materials.
    Nadeau noted a "high likelihood that the jury will draw unfavorable inferences about the defendant's character once they hear he is a customer of an adult bookstore."
Also excluded from the trial are any past relationships Evans had with children. The former Rochester and Keene resident has a son from his marriage to Tristan Evans....

29 November 2001 "Bortner gets immunity; may testify in boyfriend's murder trial"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a Rochester toddler beaten to death last year has been granted immunity from self-incrimination to testify against the man charged with killing her daughter....

   "The judge granted immunity and she (Bortner) will be testifying," Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker said Wednesday...

   "Nothing she says during the trial can be used against her," Delker said....

   Since her daughter's death, Bortner has lived in Texas and New Hampshire, with addresses in Keene, Weirs Beach and, most recently, Mile Hill Road in Belmont....

29 November 2001 "Judge says Evans' past to be excluded from trial" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - A Strafford County Superior Court judge decided Wednesday that most aspects of Chad E. Evans' personal life and past behavior are inadmissible at his trial....

   Judge Tina L. Nadeau released her decision Wednesday afternoon on nine motions submitted by the state and defense in preparation for the trial - including several related to Evans' character and that of witnesses expected to testify.

  Nadeau granted a motion filed by defense attorneys Mark Sisti and Alan Cronheim on behalf of Evans to "exclude certain evidence as inadmissible character evidence" - including his relationship with his former wife, Tristan Evans; his prior criminal record and probation; and his alleged drug use.

  In granting a request within the motion not to allow certain information related to Evans' sexual interests to be presented as evidence, Nadeau wrote of a "high likelihood that the jury will draw unfavorable inferences about the defendant's character once they hear that he is a customer of an adult bookstore."

   The state could potentially present related information during the trial if "the defendant opens the door to such evidence."

   Nadeau granted a motion filed by N. William Delker and Simon Brown of the New Hampshire attorney general's office to admit as evidence contact between Bortner and Evans after he was charged with murder in connection with Kassidy's death.

   In her ruling, Nadeau stated that shortly after Evans' release on bail in December, "the defendant lived with Bortner and bought her groceries and other personal items... the defendant's contact, especially in light of the court's order, is relevant to prove the defendant's consciousness of guilt and to demonstrate Bortner's bias."

   The state's position is that Evans was willing to violate the court order to influence Bortner's testimony in his favor....

   The state's motion to admit statements Bortner made as a "co-conspirator" to endanger Kassidy's welfare was denied.  Bortner told numerous friends and family members about her efforts to hide Kassidy's bruises and injuries, according to Nadeau's order....

   In total, Nadeau granted four of the state's motions, denied one and reserved making a decision on a motion to admit "excited utterances" made by Bortner....

   Nadeau ruled in favor of the state's request to exclude any evidence related to Evans' "good character and/or allegedly good treatment of children other than the victim."   In her order, Nadeau wrote that Evans would be allowed to introduce evidence showing how he was able to assess Kassidy's overall well-being as well as evidence of others' observations of his treatment of the girl.   However, she wrote, Evans will not be able to introduce any testimony about his parenting of any other child.  Evans has a son from his previous marriage.

   "Whether or not the defendant abused or did not abuse other children is not relevant to the issues of the defendant's guilt regarding the treatment of Kassidy Bortner," Nadeau wrote.   She also granted the state's motion to preclude from the trial evidence related to Marshall's past. The order states that a 1998 criminal threatening conviction against Marshall, who was with Kassidy at the time of her death and will testify for the prosecution, does not meet admissibility requirements for the trial.   The seventh motion filed by the state, which sought to exclude evidence Kassidy may have ingested window cleaner prior to her death, had been withdrawn prior to Nadeau's ruling....

   Nadeau ruled affirmatively on the state's request to consolidate the nine charges pending against Evans related to Kassidy with one simple assault count alleging he placed his hands on Amanda Bortner's neck during an argument.

29 November 2001 "Impaneling jurors in Evans murder case to continue next week"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - After two days of selection, eight jurors have been chosen for the trial of a former Rochester man accused of beating his girlfriend's daughter to death.

29 November 2001 "Eight jurors selected in Chad Evans murder trial"  Foster's Daily Democrat, from the Associated Press  (See the same AP story in the Keene Sentinel,"Jurors being picked for child-death trial" )

The article begins...

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - Eight jurors have been selected this week in the trial of a Keene man accused of beating his girlfriend's baby daughter to death.   Jury selection will continue Monday in the case of Chad Evans...

   Fifteen jurors, including three alternates, are to be selected from a pool of 200 people. 

28 November 2001 "Jury selection begins in case of dead 21-month-old" Union Leader by Josh Adams

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER -- Court proceedings are under way in the case against Chad Evans, as jury selection began yesterday at Strafford County Superior Court....
    Judge Tina Nadeau, who will preside over the case, said the jury would not be sequestered.    However, she said to those summoned for jury duty, "It's very important that you don't allow yourself to see any newspaper reports about this trial."
    Earlier this month, Kassidy's mother, Evans' girlfriend, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges relating to her daughter's death. Bortner, facing two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, had not been charged with any crime dealing with Kassidy's death until the last day the statute of limitations ran out on Nov. 8.
    Earlier this month, Bortner's attorney Patricia Wiberg told The Union Leader she suspected the charges were an attempt to get Bortner to testify against Evans....

28 November 2001 "Four jurors picked in Evans murder trial" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The first day of jury selection for the Chad Evans murder trial yielded four confirmed jurors, and if today goes as smoothly, the trial could begin Dec. 4.   A pool of 100 potential jurors arrived Tuesday at Strafford County Superior Court for the 9 a.m. start of the selection....

   About 55 indicated they did not feel they had any issues that needed to be resolved and they were excused to be scheduled for individual questioning by the state, defense and Nadeau.   The remaining jurors - approximately 45 - approached the bench one by one to discuss their concerns, whether personal or related to the case.  After Nadeau and attorneys for both sides heard each potential juror, 39 were excused from service and [the] remaining few were scheduled for the next phase of the process.   After lunch, eight potential jurors had individual interviews with Nadeau and the attorneys....

   Of the eight interviewed, four were accepted as jurors for the upcoming trial and four were excused. Both the state and the defense are allowed three peremptory challenges to use to dismiss a potential juror. The defense team used two of its three Tuesday afternoon.  The state has not used any of its challenges.

27 November 2001 "Child-death trial starts"  Keene Sentinel, from the Associated Press

The article reads....

DOVER (AP) - Jury selection began today for a Keene man accused of beating his girlfriend's baby daughter to death.   Chad Evans, 30, is accused of beating his girlfriend's 20-month-old daughter, Kassidy Bortner. Authorities allege the child was beaten regularly for at least three months before she died.

   Evans was manager of a fast-food restaurant when he lived in Keene, and was a member of the Keene Board of Education.

18 November 2001 "Solving unsolved murders - N.H. Lab says in-state DNA testing is the answer" by Greg Coffey, The Keene Sunday Sentinel.

Excerpts from the article...

  The state lab can analyze tissue for DNA, but isn't certified to do the most accurate of those tests.

   Pifer is working to get his lab certified by the American Society of Laboratory Directors...

  The certification would be a major step forward in New Hampshire crime fighting. It would allow the lab to produce more timely analysis for criminal investigations...

16 November 2001 "State says no deal for mom of slain todler - Evans trial set to begin on Dec. 5" Foster's Daily Democrat by Dave Pearson and Teresa RobinsonExcerpts from the article...

DOVER - Mort than a year following the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner, the man accused of killing her is preparing to stand trial...  Attorney Mark Sisti... said he wants to take the jury to view two sites involved in the case - a house on Rogers Road in Kittery, Maine, and Evans' one-time home on Milton Road.  Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker objected to a viewing at the Kittery home, saying he thought the visit would not add anything to the trial and was unnecessary.

   "The request is appropriate," Nadeau said....

16 November 2001 "State says no deal for mom of slain toddler - Amanda Bortner will be facing charge of child endangerment" Foster's Daily Democrat by Dave Pearson

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - Amanda Bortner, the mother of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner who was killed last November, spent the night in jail Thursday after the state withdrew an offer of immunity from prosecution. With an escort of Sheriff's deputies, Bortner, 19, of 293 Eindicott Road, Weirs Beach, left the Strafford County Superior Court in handcuffs after her arraignment...

16 November 2001 "Mom of beaten toddler jailed"  Union Leader by Jody RecordExcerpts from the article...

DOVER -- The mother of a toddler who was allegedly beaten to death last year was taken away in handcuffs yesterday after appearing in court on misdemeanor charges.
Bail for Amanda Bortner, 19, was set at $5,000 cash or surety by Judge Tina Nadeau in Strafford County Superior Court, where Bortner faced two charges of endangering the welfare of a child....
    When asked if she thought the misdemeanor charges lodged against Bortner were an attempt to pressure the young mother into being a witness for the state, Wiberg said it was a possibility that had occurred to her.
   "I don't know what the state's motive is in filing the charges so late but that is one I have considered," Wiberg said shortly after Bortner was taken from the Dover courthouse in handcuffs.
    She was being held at the Strafford County House of Corrections. As of late yesterday afternoon she had not made bail....
"The terms were theirs. She agreed to everything. They didn't. She didn't change anything," Wiberg said, adding that she could not discuss the terms of the proposed agreement.
    Brown had argued for $10,000 bail, contending that there was a risk that Bortner, whose last known address was in Keene, might flee. He also said she had been in contact with Evans, 29, almost constantly since Kassidy's death despite bail conditions for Evans that barred him from having any contact with her.
   "The state learned they were having contact," Brown said. "From about Christmas 2000 on, they were living together in Keene. In the summer, they lived in a camper in Vermont on his grandmother's land. They took trips together. They went to Colebrook camping and to New York City to a Red Sox game. It's a chronic pattern of contact."
    Brown also expressed concern that, if Bortner was released on personal recognizance, as her attorney suggested, she would flee the state.
    Shortly after Kassidy's death, Bortner went to Texas where she stayed for about a month, Brown said. She made another trip to Texas before finally returning to the area.    But, according to Brown, in telephone conversations with a victim's advocate at the attorney general's office, Bortner said she was still in Texas.
    But telephone records obtained by the state showed the calls were made from Vermont, Brown said.
    In addition to the $10,000 bail, Brown asked that Bortner not have contact with 14 people, including Evans, that she be prohibited from leaving the state, maintain a New Hampshire address and report to a probation officer in person at least once a week.
Nadeau granted all of the state's bail conditions except for the $10,000 cash-surety, which she called too high and reduced to $5,000. The judge cited "underlying circumstances" for her unwillingness to agree to personal recognizance.
    After the bail was set, Bortner sat in a chair while Evans took her place at the defense table with his attorneys for a pretrial hearing. Evans was indicted about a month after Kassidy died on murder and assault charges.

16 September 2001 "Evans' attorney looks forward to trial - No motion filed by defense for change of venue for second-degree murder case"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

OSSIPPEE - The attorney for a former Rochester man charged with beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter to death says he is looking forward to the November trial.   "We want this resolved as quickly as possible. We cannot wait to get a fair and impartial jury to try this case before," Mark Sisti said Thursday morning, standing outside Carroll County Superior Court....

   "We intend on trying this case in Strafford County. We're intent on getting a jury, and we're intent on getting the facts out in front of the jury." Sisti said.

8 September 2001 "Evans faces probation charge - Murder suspect accused of possessing 1,400 live rounds of ammunition"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A former local man accused of beating his girlfriend's child to death was back in court Friday morning for a probation violation hearing....

    The ammunition was discovered during the November investigation into the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner. Evans has since been charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of assault in connection with the child's death.

    Cronheim contended Evans did not violate his probation because he had simply forgotten about the ammunition.  Cronheim produced a receipt indicating Evans purchased the ammunition from Houston Cartridge Company in 1995 - almost five years before he was placed on probation for assaulting his wife....

     Evans rolled his eyes and appeared frustrated when [Asst. County Attorney Hope] Flynn referred to his past history of domestic violence and described him as a dangerous man....

    Twomey [Cronheim] and Sisti had previously attempted to have Evans' guilty plea to the prior simple assault charge vacated. Last month, they asked Jones to vacate the underlying domestic assault conviction on which the probation is based.  The attorneys cited case law indicated Evans should have been told in court at the time he agreed to his guilty plea that he would not be able to possess firearms or ammunition....

    [Judge Franklin] Jones ruled last month not to vacate the conviction....

23 August 2001 "Bail revoked in baby death case"  Union Leader from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER (AP) -- A man accused of beating to death his girlfriend's baby daughter has had his bail revoked and is back in jail....

  A spokesman for the attorney general said Evans had contact with Amanda Bortner, 19, but gave no details. Senior Assistant Attorney    General William Delker said prosecutors still were investigating the nature of the alleged contact. The two lived together in Rochester at the time of the child's death. Evans later moved to the Keene area, and Bortner recently moved several miles from where Evans lives.
    Evans had his bail revoked by Judge James O'Neill III after a hearing Monday.
Delker said Evans likely will remain in jail until his November trial. The court order states that Evans is "unlikely to abide by a condition . . . of release."... 

18 August 2001 "Murder suspect, mother in Keene"  Keene Sentinel

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The mother of a murdered seacoast toddler has left the area to take up residence 4 miles from the Keene home of the man charged with the crime....

  According to documents in Evans' case file, Bortner has lived at the home of a Vanessa Mansson at 651 Park Ave., Keene, since at least June....

11 August 2001 "Evans asks to toss guilty plea in assault  Former Rochester man facing murder charges"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders 

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - Chad Evans' probation violation hearing was postponed again, and if his defense team gets its way the court will throw out the domestic assault guilty plea that put him on probation in the first place....

  [Judge] Jones ... set the new date as Sept. 7.

12 July 2001 "SEEKING COUNSEL - Judge to grant counsel to murdered girl's mother" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - Four months before she is to testify against the man accused of murdering her child, Amanda Bortner is seeking legal counsel to guard against self-incrimination.

  Strafford County Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau said Wednesday the court will grant a written request by Bortner for a court-appointed attorney.

12 July 2001 "Evans asks for sequestered jury in murder trial of Kassidy Bortner"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders  (See similar article in Union Leader, "Bid to sequester jury in baby death case")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER - The attorney for a Rochester man accused of beating his girlfriend's daughter to death has asked a judge to consider sequestering the jury for his client's upcoming trial....  "There has been some extraordinary publicity," Cronheim said of the case....

   New Hampshire Special Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter said he would not object to the court's decision regarding sequestering the jury, given the media attention to the case.

24 June 2001 "Caretakers accountable under new 'Kassidy Bill' "  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — Caretakers of children who do not report suspected abuse may now face felony charges, but police officials and domestic violence experts say a greater awareness of domestic abuse is the real key to prevention.
    An Act to Amend the Crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child became law Monday after Gov. Angus King signed the bill, which was often referred to as the "Kassidy Bortner Bill."
    The summary of the new law is as follows:
   "This bill creates the crime of aggravated endangering the welfare of a child, which is committed when a parent, foster parent, guardian or person responsible for the care and custody of the child knows that the child has been subject to serious bodily injury by another and fails to protect the child from further injury."...
    Kittery Councilor Mark J. Sousa was among those supporting and pushing the bill.
   "If common decency doesn't make someone pick up the phone to report suspected abuse, then hopefully being charged with a felony will," Sousa said.
   "It's unfortunate that we live in a world where people are more concerned about their privacy than the welfare of a child such as Kassidy. If somebody had come forward after seeing what was going on with this child, I believe she would be alive today."
    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Sullivan, D-Biddeford, was originally drafted to protect elderly or incapacitated adults from neglect and abuse. Rep. Stephen Estes, D-Kittery, proposed an amendment to include the protection of children as well.
    After sealed documents were made public in January, Estes said he was shocked to learn the tragic details of Kassidy's beating death. Estes said he proposed the amendment after learning that people either knew or suspected the abuse, but did nothing to stop it.
    Grace Mattern, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said Maine lawmakers should have extended the law to include that all adults be responsible to report abuse, not just caretakers.
   "In a family where there's violence, family members might be the least able to make a report because of threats," she explained. "The real solution is to create community awareness of the reality of child abuse so that people will be willing to report and the abuser will be held accountable."
    Tracy Cooley, state coordinator for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, said it's easy to accuse those who may have known and who are alleged to have known about domestic abuse, but each case should be evaluated carefully and separately.
Cooley noted that it's often easier for people outside the family unit to come forward with information because of potential safety issues.
   "To be blaming the other caretaker is not going to solve the problem," Cooley said. "What we need is a coordinated community response to ending child and domestic abuse, not necessarily a quick fix by blaming a caretaker or family member who may be in jeopardy themselves."
Police react
    Kittery Patrolman Robert Creamer, who attempted to revive Kassidy, said it was apparent the child had suffered from physical abuse.
    Creamer said the toddler was dressed only in a diaper and was covered with bruises all over her face, hands and abdomen, and she was unconscious.
    However, the veteran officer said he has mixed emotions about the new law.
"I'm glad the bill passed, but it's really not a preventative method," Creamer said. "It will be very hard for law enforcement officials to enforce this law. You can write all the laws you want, but unless somebody actually makes the complaint that the child is being mistreated, then we still have nothing."...
    Kassidy's evident ongoing abuse should have been detected by somebody long before she died, he said.
    Kittery Detective William Hackett said he doesn't believe the "Kassidy Bill" will stop violence against children, but it may result in more timely reporting.
Another Kittery patrolman, Charles Denault, said he would like to see the current laws strengthened.
   "It's sad when a law needs to be passed after a tragedy in order to prosecute those who don't report abuse or those who commit the crime," Denault said. "What we need is a zero-tolerance policy within the criminal justice system that sends a message loud and clear: No plea bargains, no deals, no time off for good behavior, just pure prison."...
Evans' attorneys refused comment on any pending charges. When the Portsmouth Herald asked Evans at a pretrial conference in May if he killed or beat Kassidy, he declined to answer.
    The Portsmouth Herald called Evans at his home on Thursday for comment, but the woman who answered hung up the phone....

23 June 2001 "Man targets child abuse report laws" Union Leader, from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

CONCORD (AP) -- An Epsom man has collected about 850 signatures in an effort to get state lawmakers to strengthen laws requiring people to report suspected child abuse. Howard Hedegard said the petition effort has drawn support from across the state and across all ages and demographics.
   "People want to see the law strengthened," he said.
    The death of 21-month old Kassidy Bortner in Rochester last year inspired Maine to strengthen its laws for reporting child abuse. Hedegard said New Hampshire legislators should follow Maine's lead and make failure to report suspected child abuse a felony, instead of a misdemeanor.
   "I see what Maine did as a building block for what we need to do in New Hampshire," said yesterday.
    He said he hopes to obtain about 1,200 signatures before presenting the petition to lawmakers....
   "Hopefully, we'll have the same victory here in New Hampshire as was had in Maine," Hedegard said.


20 June 2001 "King passes laws inspired by N.H. girl's death" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace  (See similar Associated Press article in 21 June Union Leader, "Maine child abuse reporting laws inspired by NH death")

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine - Gov. Angus King has signed into law tough new child abuse reporting measures that were inspired by the death of a 21-month-old New Hampshire girl....

    In New Hampshire, the mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting law states that any resident who has ''reason to suspect'' abuse from health care and law enforcement professionals to neighbors must report those suspicions to authorities.
    Not reporting is a misdemeanor. However, no New Hampshire residents who waited until after Kassidy's death to tell of past abuse are being charged under the law.
    But in Maine, where family friends frequently baby-sat the girl and may have suspected she was being abused, the former law requiring that suspicions of abuse be reported applied only to professionals, including teachers, child-care personnel and police.
    Those who knowingly failed to report abuse could have been slapped with a $500 civil fine, Assistant Attorney General Christopher Leighton said.
    On Monday, King signed into law a measure that makes it a Class C felony for those who assume long-term responsibility for a child to fail to report abuse in cases when the child sustains serious injuries or dies.
    ''Obviously we're pleased and grateful to the Legislature for recognizing the importance of passing this bill and hope it will help to protect children,'' Special Assistant Attorney General Charles Dow said.
    Another measure now law in Maine requires any adult with ''full, intermittent or occasional responsibility for the care or custody'' of an elderly or incapacitated adult or child to report suspicions of abuse.
    The revised law applies to baby sitters and day-care providers as well as professionals and parents regardless of whether the individual is being paid for their services.
''One of the reasons these cases are so difficult is the code of silence we encounter in the prosecution,'' Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese wrote in support of the measure.
    ''Child abuse or child endangerment generally does not occur in isolation,'' she said. ''Usually there is one individual inflicting the bodily injury while the other parent or adult member of the household enables this conduct through his or her omission and silence.''....

29 May 2001 "Petitioners building momentum for 'Kassidy Law' "  Foster's Daily Democrat (online version) by Jennifer L. Saunders (See also first page of print article, "Momentum builds for 'Kassidy' law"

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - The effort to create stiff penalties for violators of New Hampshire's child abuse reporting law is gaining strong support statewide in memory of Kassidy Bortner.   Howard C. Hedegard, Jr., spokesman for the grass-roots effort behing "Kassidy's Petition" said the number of New Hampshire voters who have signed petitions has doubled since April. There are at least 800 signatures on the petitions.

   The effort, which began in the Lakes Region, has spread to include strong support from individuals in the Seacoast, Concord and southern New Hampshire...

   New Hampshire does have a mandatory reporting law for anyone who suspects child abuse. However, it imposes only misdemeanor or civil penalties. The penalties include a fine of at least $2,000 or up to one year in prison, according to the law....

   Among the responses have been many letters, stories and signatures from Lilac City residents who feel a personal connection to the petition effort.   "I have never in my life seen a more sad child. She just looked so sad, so withdrawn, curled up in that stroller," a Rochester store clerk told Hedegard, recalling the day when a mother came into the Lilac Mall store where she was working, wheeling a small girl in a stroller.   The clerk told Hedegard she remembered the child's face was badly bruised and that when she questioned the mother, the parent said the little girl fell and then abruptly left the store.   Weeks later, when photographs of Kassidy were published in news accounts of her death, the woman recognized the little girl from the store...

   Among those who have joined the effort is Nick Barous of the "Cat 'n' Fiddle Restaurant in Concord. In April, Barous and his employees placed a poster Hedegard made with Kassidy's picture in the entry way of the restaurant and asked patrons to sign the petition and help spread the word.

9 May 2001 "Six months after Kassidy Bortner's death, her case rings all too familiar" Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER -- Six months ago today, a local toddler's death brought home the reality that child abuse does happen here -- fueling an outcry in Kassidy Bortner's name.   Residents in both Maine and New Hampshire have written to their legislators and signed petitions expressing their outrage at the abuse 21-month-old Kassidy endured before her death....

   Kassidy died on Nov. 9 after enduring what authorities have described as weeks of "senseless" beatings at the hands of her mother's live-in boyfriend, Chad E. Evans....   Although Amanda Bortner has not been charged, court documents state she lied about her daughter's abuse and did not seek medical treatment for the child in an effort to protect Evans....

   Nationally, statistics indicate that the single most common form of child maltreatment is neglect on the part of the female parent.   More than 60 percent of the perpetrators of child maltreatment are females who - like 19-year-old Bortner - are typically younger than their male counterparts, according to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System....

   In Kassidy's case, New Hampshire State Police Affidavits allege Evans repeatedly abused the toddler by grabbing her face, arm or leg and throwing her into walls or onto the floor and by choking her until she gagged to stop her from crying."   The affidavits also state that Bortner and Evans discussed seeking medical attention for Kassidy's injuries, and agreed not to bring her to a doctor.   Court documents say little whether Bortner neglected her child's other basic needs. But friends and family members who took care of Kassidy during the two months Bortner lived with Evans told Foster's Daily Democrat it was common for the mother to bring Kassidy to them in the same diaper and pajamas they dressed her in the night before....

   Kassidy's physical condition at the time of her death supported those statements....  ...preliminary court documents detailing the examination of Kassidy's body at York Hospital describe visible irritation and swelling in areas that may indicate that she was sexually abused.   When the court documents were released in January, officials stated that no charges of sexual abuse are expected and the irritation could have been caused in other ways, including lack of attention to the toddler's hygenic needs.   The deaths of four children were reported in Maine in 1998...   In New Hampshire, one child fatality was reported in 1999. In January, however, New Hampshire's chief medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Andrew, told the Associated Press he was concerned that the number had increased significantly between 1999 and 2000.....

   At the end of 2000, Kassidy was one of four young children determined to be New Hampshire homicide victims, and the deaths of three babies - including 14-week old Jeffrey D. Trudeau of Dover - remained under investigation.

7 May 2001 "Trial for Evans delayed"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer SaundersExcerpts from the article...

DOVER - Due to a scheduling conflict, the Nov. 5 trial of a Rochester man accused of killing 21-month old Kassidy Bortner is being postponed....

   [Amanda] Bortner would later tell police that Evans repeatedly beat her daughter for about six weeks prior to her death....

   Bortner told police that Evans...grabbed her in a 'palming' fashion....

[See related Foster's Democrat article, on 19 May 2001 page 1, by Brad Morin, "Criminal cases on fast track - Strafford County Superior Court gaining efficiency"]

7 May 2001 Letter to the Editor, Foster's Daily Democrat, by Ken Goodall of Exeter, NH, "Kassidy Bill goes 'too far' "

Excerpts from the letter...

    ...Average people are going to have to decide what is and isn't abuse. Will yelling or screaming at your chid be considered abuse?  It could be by some people. Is spanking abuse?  a lot of people believed it is.  What recourse will be available to those that are wrongly accused....

1 May 2001 " 'Kassidy Bill moving well through legislative process"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine - The Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee has given its full support to a proposal by Attorney General Steven Rowe that creates a new classification of crime to protect children such as Kassidy Bortner...

   The case is being prosecuted in New Hampshire, but authorities in both states said they do not expect to file charges against Bortner....

6 April 2001 "Kassidy's death spurs reform efforts in N.H. - Grass-roots group calls for revisions to the New Hampshire Child Protection Act"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A local girl's death has become the catalyst for a grass-roots effort to hold violators of New Hampshire's child abuse reporting law accountable for their inaction...   The petition reads, "We the undersigned residents of the state of New Hampshire, wish to express our shock and horror at the brutality and suffering endured by Kassidy Bortner in the weeks prior to her death,..."

[See related article, on page 2 of above article, "How to sign 'Kassidy's Petition' ".]

5 April 2001 "Jail not likely for Evans before trial - One hearing continued; another

delayed until after murder case"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer SaundersExcerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - Whether the man accused of murdering Kassidy Bortner last year violated his probation when he was charged with killing the toddler will remain a mystery until next year....

   After the court recessed for the day, Special Senor Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter explained the legalities contributing to the postponement....   Carter, who joined probation and parole officers Kevin Callaghan and Dick Allen in the courtroom, explained that because of the times between the probation violation and the murder trial, the attorney general's office is assisting as a courtesy....   Since his [Evans's] arraignment, he has grown a short beard and mustache....

  Several weeks ago, when reached by telephone and asked for his thoughts on the case, Evans said, "Should I speak with my heart or with my head?"  And then declined to comment.  See CHAD'S 2010 RECOLLECTION OF THIS EXCHANGE.

5 April 2001"Nov. 5 trial set"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — The man accused of beating to death 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner remains free on bail after a court appearance Wednesday in Rochester District Court but will face a judge again in July on a probation violation charge....
    At the time of his arrest, Evans was charged with violating his probation for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife, Tristan Evans. He allegedly violated his parole by being arrested for Kassidy's death and for being in possession of firearms.
    Kevin Callaghan, Evans' probation officer, and N.H. Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter were present at Wednesday's hearing.
   "All parties agreed that the arrest violation will be continued after the second-degree murder and assault trial in Superior Court in November," Carter said.
    Defense attorneys Alan J. Cronheim and Mark Sisti of Portsmouth are representing Evans. Although an arrest is a violation of Evan's probation, his attorneys argued that he has not been convicted of the second-degree murder charge and therefore should not face that violation charge until after his Nov. 5 trial date.
    Judge Franklin Jones set a July 19 court date for a hearing on the firearms possession and a December hearing for the arrest violation.
    Carter explained the judge's decision, saying the two violations were completely separate.
   "Chad Evans had live ammunition at the time of his arrest in his home," Carter said. "The court today recognized that is an issue that can be resolved separately, which it will be over the course of the next three months."
    Evans' attorneys refused comment on any pending charges.
    A pretrial conference on the second-degree murder charge is scheduled for May 7 in Strafford County Superior Court.
    Carter said pretrial conferences are often informal but still open to the public.
    Expected to prosecute the case are Carter and Will Delker, both New Hampshire assistant attorneys general....
   "Based on information available, we expect and understand that Evans is complying with the order of the court and conditions of his bail and will not have contact with Amanda or her family," Carter said....

4 April 2001. " 'Kassidy Bill' leaps ahead - Maine law to punish those failing to report child abuse passes first test"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

AUGUSTA, Maine - A version of "Kassidy's Bill" that would require most, if not all, residents to report suspicious of child abuse is one step closer to becoming law.   The Legilsture's Joint Standing Judiciary Committee voted 6-1 at its work session Tuesday to forward the amended bill to the full Legilsature with an "ought-to-pass" recommendation....

   Although authorities have stated that the injuries that caused Kassidy's death were inflicted in New Hampshire, she died in Maine after her mother brought her to the home of a relative in Kittery and left to go to work."

3 April 2001 "Maine opens debate on law that would punish non-reporting of child abuse" Foster's Daily Democrat (online version) by Jennifer L. Saunders. See printed version of same article, under Banner Headline  "Kassidy's baby sitter hopes right bill passes - Maine opens debate...."Excerpts from the article...YORK, Maine - "Kassidy's Bill" is gaining support from individuals with close ties to the child abuse case that spurred the legislation.     Jefferey Marshall was the last person to see Kassidy Caitlyn Bortner alive after her mother left the 21-month-old at his Kittery home and went to work. He called police on the afternoon of Nov. 9 and requested paramedics for Kassidy.   When Marshall heard about "Kassidy's Bill" -- or An Act to Protect Children and Elderly or Incapacitated Adults as it is more formally known - he could not help but think of the blue-eyed little girl who was like a niece to him.   "I do want the law to go through, but I want it to be the right one," he said Monday....   In the months since Kassidy's death, Marshall and others close to the child have come under fire for not reporting suspicious of abuse to authorities.   When court documents were released at Rochester District Court in January, New Hampshire state Police affidavits listed numerous instances in which Marshall and his girlfriend, Jennifer Conley saw bruises on Kassidy or noticed changes in her behavior."

[See related front page article, "Minnesota's tough reporting law spawned from case like Kassidy's".  See also, at page 4B, "Failure to report abuse only a misdemeanor in New Hampshire".]

3 April 2001. "Evans expected in court for probation violation hearing"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - The man accused of killing 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner is expected back in court Wednesday for a hearing on an alleged probation violation. ...

  At the time [of Kassidy Bortner's death] Evans was on probation for domestic assault against his former wife, Tristan Evans....

31 March 2001. "Help stop abuse - Tell Maine to pass Kassidy's Bill"   Editorial:  Foster's Daily Democrat

Excerpts from the article...

   Maine residents have a chance to fight against child abuse...

  Adults in Kassidy's life knew what was going on for six weeks before she died. Yet, no one came to her rescue until she was taken to a hospital in Maine four hours before she stopped breathing.  Before that, no one had stepped forward as Kassidy's advocate - not a word had been spoken on her behalf so authorities could finally put a stop to the terror....

30 March 2001 "Kassidy's accused killer remains free, despite parole violations"  Foster's Daily Democrat (online version) by Jennifer L. Saunders.  See print version, "AG fears keep suspected child killer out on bail".

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - An accused child killer remains a free man because the New Hampshire attorney general's office fears jeopardizing the murder case against him....   Evans' bail conditions include no restriction on his contact with children -- even though the state alleges Kassidy's death came only after Evans repeatedly abused her by hitting her, grabbing her face and throwing her into walls....

[At bottom of page, "Child killer please turn to page 7" and at page 7, "Child killer Continued from Page 1.]

29 March 2001 " 'Kassidy Bill' debated - Maine lawmakers listen to proposal to punish those who fail to report child abuse"  Foster's Daily Democrat  by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

AUGUSTA, Maine - Legislators have a shared goal behind their bill requiring mandatory reporting of aubse. To protect the state's most vulnerable residents from the suffering Kassidy Bortner endured before her death....

[See adjoining article, "How you can help 'Kassidy' law pass".]

28 March 2001 "Rep. Estes amends bill to require the [reporting of abuse] "  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — The state Legislature will hold a public hearing today on a bill aimed at preventing child abuse.
    Although the bill was originally drafted to protect elderly or incapacitated adults from neglect and abuse, Rep. Stephen Estes, D-Kittery, proposed an amendment to include the protection of children as well....
    Estes searched for a bill to amend after affidavits released in the Kassidy Bortner murder case revealed that the 21-month-old girl had been beaten regularly for months....
    The state representative said he plans to ask the Judiciary Committee to put an emergency preamble on the bill to make it effective as soon as possible....
Kittery Patrolman Robert Creamer attempted to revive Kassidy and said it was apparent the child had suffered from physical abuse.
   "It should be a serious offense when those who know abuse is ongoing and they fail to report the acts," Creamer said. "Those witnesses should face a stiff mandated penalty.
   "The Kassidy case is a perfect example of continuing abuse," he added. "If this law had been enacted at the time of her death, someone in her family may have felt more obligated to report the abuse."

27 March 2001 "Kassidy case prompts proposal of Maine death penalty bill"  Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, from the Associated Press

The article begins...

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) The death of a 21-month-old New Hampshire girl last November has prompted a Maine lawmaker to seek to reinstate the death penalty in his state....

22 March 2001 "Maine sets hearing on 'Kassidy' bill"  Foster's Daily Democrat, page 2, by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

KITTERY, Maine - Four and a half months after Kassidy Bortner's death, legislation to protect child victims of abuse is moving to the next phase in the approval process....

22 March 2001"Pretrial conference in toddler case pushed back"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — Another court date for the Rochester man charged with beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death has been postponed.
    A pretrial conference had been scheduled for Friday in Strafford County (N.H.) Superior Court, but it has been delayed until May 7....
    Evans remains free on $100,000 cash bail but must abide by several conditions, Delker said. Evans is not permitted to have contact with Kassidy's mother, 19-year-old Amanda Bortner, or with Jeff Marshall, the Kittery resident who was baby-sitting Kassidy at the time of her death and who is expected to testify against Evans.
   "Based on information available, we expect and understand that Evans is complying with the order of the court and conditions of his bail, and will not have contact with Amanda or her family," Carter said.
    Evans also was charged at the time of his arrest with violating his probation for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife, Tristan Evans. He also violated his parole by being arrested for Kassidy's death and for being in possession of firearms, police said.
    Evans is scheduled to appear for a probation hearing at 1:30 p.m. on April 4 in Rochester (N.H.) District Court. Kevin Callaghan, Evan's probation officer, and Delker will be present at the hearing, according to a clerk at the court.
    Typically, at a Strafford County probation hearing, the judge determines if there is a violation. A felony violation could result in more probation or even jail time, according to the Strafford County district attorney's office.
    Evans did not return phone calls made by the Portsmouth Herald by press time asking for comment on the charges pending against him.
    Indictments previously released by the Strafford County grand jury suggest that the toddler had been beaten regularly for at least three months prior to her death.
In fact, police said there were several visible signs of abuse including a fractured arm and leg.
    Kassidy was pronounced dead at York Hospital on Nov. 9 from multiple blows to her head and abdomen, Kittery Detective Steve Hamel said in a previous interview.
Court documents say Evans grabbed Kassidy's throat, face and limbs repeatedly. Hamel confirmed reports that Evans allegedly threw the child against the walls of his home and prevented her from receiving treatment for wounds he inflicted.
    Hamel said the investigation has revealed that Evans had been abusing Kassidy from Aug. 1 until her death. He said available evidence points to Evans, who also faces a charge of simple assault for allegedly abusing the child's mother.
Kittery Patrolman Robert Creamer was the first officer to respond to the 911 call.    

Creamer, who has been a police officer for 25 years, attempted to revive the toddler and said it was apparent that the child had suffered from physical abuse.
"I think it's appalling that this child had been beaten for at least three months and that other people have not been charged with endangerment to the welfare of a child or failing to report abuse," Creamer said on Wednesday.
"It was apparent when I first saw the baby that she had multiple, multiple bruises on her neck, abdomen and face and I immediately suspected ongoing abuse. It was a sickening feeling to know that society, family members and the mother must have been aware that she was being abused for some time."... 

15 March 2001 "Evans' hearing is slated - Suspect in toddler death going back to court March 23"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

DOVER - The next step in the judicial process for the Rochester man accused in the November beating death of his girlfriend's baby has been set for March 23 at Strafford County Superior Court....

5 March 2001. "Kassidy autopsy under wraps until trial - Weather postpones today's hearing for murder suspect" Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

... "We have already gone on the record as to the cause of Kassidy's death," New Hampshire Special Assistant Attorney General Christopher H.M. Carter said last week.

  Kassidy's autopsy has been completed, he said, and authorities have issued a statement that her death was caused by blunt-force trauma to her head...

26 February 2001 "Kittery funeral home worker pushes for stricter child abuse laws"  Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine (AP) — A Maine funeral home worker who helped authorities examine the bruised body of a New Hampshire toddler is pushing lawmakers in both states to enact tougher child abuse laws.
    Mark Sousa was called to York Hospital on Nov. 9 to take Kassidy Bortner’s body to the Maine Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta....  At the hospital that day, Sousa helped move the child while investigators took photographs. Despite his years of working in the funeral industry, seeing Kassidy was a shock, Sousa told Foster’s Daily Democrat of Dover, N.H....
   "I had a very difficult time dealing with the fact that I was looking at this beautiful little angel laying on this sheet, covered from head to toe with bruises," he said.
Sousa said he was just as appalled to learn that only Evans was charged in the girl’s death, despite indications from police that other relatives in both New Hampshire and Maine knew she was being beaten. He hopes sharing his experience will persuade lawmakers to better protect abused children.
   "I am personally very upset at the fact that neither Maine nor New Hampshire has brought charges against the mother of the child. In my opinion after seeing the body of this child, I believe with all my heart the mother knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to stop it," Sousa said.
    According to police affidavits, Amanda Bortner, 18, described several incidents in which her boyfriend had harmed Kassidy, including throwing her against the wall and choking her to stop her from crying.
   "This child went through pure hell in the last months of her life. Not being able to find anybody to protect her from the person who was abusing her more than likely tormented her as much as the physical abuse she endured," Sousa said.
Maine law does not require residents to report signs of abuse, although Bortner’s death has prompted a Kittery lawmaker to sponsor a bill that would change that. Sousa said he supports the bill, but wants to be sure this mandatory reporting law carries with it severe penalties.
    Officials in New Hampshire have said they do not expect any additional charges to be filed against anyone who knew of the abuse against Kassidy even though the state has a mandatory reporting law for anyone with reason to suspect child abuse.
   "There was no way possible that somebody would not have noticed there was something drastically wrong with this child," Sousa said. "In my opinion, a person would have to be blind not to suspect abuse."
    Sousa said he plans to attend the public hearing on the Maine legislation once a date is set....

24 February 2001.  "Girl's death still haunts attendant - Horror of Bortner case prompts action to stop abuse" Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

KITTERY, Maine - From his years of work in the funeral profession, Mark J. Sousa has been trained to keep his emotions in check. But the sight of Kassidy Bortner's small, bruised body in the hours after her death haunts him to this day....

15 February 2001. "Kassidy tragedy prompts legislation - Proposed law makes child abuse reports mandatory"  Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, by Jennifer L. SaundersThe article begins...

KITTERY, Maine - The beating death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner has become the driving force behind legislation to make it mandatory for all Mainers to report suspicious of child abuse and neglect....

11 February 2001 "Evans' bail questioned in baby death case"  Keene Sentinel from Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer Saunders

The article begins...

ROCHESTER - A former Keene man charged with beating 21-month-old-Kassidy Bortner was free on bail less than a week after his arrest, even though the arrest amounted to a violation of his probation for a prior domestic-assault conviction.

6 February 2001. "SPECIAL REPORT - Bail: Alleged crime is just one factor in amount set - Evans case prompts examination of criteria" Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, by Jennifer L. Saunders

The article begins...

ROCHESTER - A local man charged with beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death was free on bail less than a week after his arrest despite the fact that being arrested constituted a violation of his probation for a prior domestic assault conviction...

4 February 2001.  "Sunday, Kassidy would have been 2 - Birthday brings up memories of toddler whose life was cut short by brutal abuse" Foster's Daily Democrat, page 1, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article....

YORK - Maine - On Sunday, Kassidy Caitlyn Bortner should have turned 2 - but her second birthday - like her second Christmas - is something she will never celebrate....         Although affidavits in the case clearly show Bortner was fully aware of the abuse her daughter suffered, she has not been charged with any crime in connection with her baby's death....

   In the months since Kassidy's death, Marshall has said he is haunted by what the child went through and is filled with regret that he ever believed the stories Bortner and Evans made up to explain away the bruises...

    Although court documents include a statement indicated it was a 'family joke' that only Conley and Marshall could watch Kassidy due to her bruises, Marshall has said he has no recollection of ever making such a statement....

   In the final days of September, she [Jacqueline Conley] recalled, she had about four days with Kassidy at her Auburn home while Bortner and Evans went to a Mets game. Conley said she saw no signs of abuse.   "It was such a special week. I didn't know how special it was... She called me 'Nah-Nah,' not Nana. I loved that.  I loved being called Nah-Nah," Conley said. 

   In photographs taken during that visit, Kassidy smiles back at her grandmother, cuddling her bunny and kicking her bare feet out before her.

4 February 2001 "Beaten baby would have turned 2 today" Portsmouth Herald, from the Associated Press  (Article also published in Maine Sunday Telegram, and Union Leader, as "Beaten baby would have been 2 today")

Excerpts from the article...

Maine (AP) — The holidays are hard days for Jacqueline Conley.
    The stuffed bunny she bought her granddaughter Kassidy for her first Christmas ended up tucked into the toddler's casket 11 months later. And today marks what should have been another day to celebrate — Kassidy's second birthday.
    Nearly three months have passed since 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner of Rochester, N.H., was beaten to death.... Conley remembers being in the delivery room when Kassidy was born..... 
    The toddler spent four days with her grandmother in late September while her mother, 18-year-old Amanda Bortner, and Evans went to a baseball game. Conley said she saw no signs of abuse.
   "It was such a special week. I didn't know how special it was. She called me Nah-Nah, not Nana. I loved that. I loved being called Nah-Nah," Conley said.
Bortner's sister, Jennifer Conley, regularly baby-sat Kassidy in her Kittery home. According to court documents, Jennifer Conley's boyfriend told police it was a "family joke" that only certain people could baby-sit Kassidy because anyone else would have reported her injuries.
    But F. Jeffrey Marshall said that he doesn't remember making that statement.
   "This is about a little baby girl," Marshall said in January. "People keep losing sight that what's lost here is a little girl."
    The baby's grandmother said she wishes she could have had Kassidy move in with her.
   "I would have taken her," she said. "I think about what she went through. She was brought up around love, people holding her, cuddling her. We told her she was a pretty girl, that we loved her."

21 January 2001 "FAMILY APPARENTLY STAYED SILENT AS ABUSE TOOK ITS TOLL"  Portland Press Herald, from the Associated Press, by J.M. Hirsch

Excerpts from the article....

It was described as a kind of family joke that only certain people could baby-sit 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner. That's because anyone else probably would have told someone -- anyone -- about the girl's bruises and welts.
    Someone might have told police she was being beaten, choked and thrown against walls. Anyone else would have said that someone apparently was pricking the bottoms of her feet -- with pins, perhaps, or a hairbrush. Now everyone knows, but it's too late.    Kassidy is dead. And no one is laughing at the family "joke."
    The Rochester girl's hell began this fall when her 18-year-old mother moved in with her boyfriend, a 29-year-old man already on probation for slapping and choking his ex-wife.
It ended at 1:28 p.m. on Nov. 9. Cause of death was a blow -- perhaps many blows -- to her head and abdomen.
    A week later, police arrested the boyfriend. Chad Evans faces a litany of charges, including second-degree murder, alleging he started beating Kassidy in September and didn't stop until she was dead.
   "I know you slowly killed my baby," court documents say Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, told Evans the day the girl died. "You wished she had never been born."
Evans, who is free on bail and living in Rochester, maintains his innocence. He did not return calls seeking comment.
   "I'm not prepared to litigate this in the press," said Alan Cronheim, one of Evans' lawyers. "We're declining to talk on the record other than to say we are prepared to defend Chad in court."
    Bortner, who has moved out of Evans' home, is believed to be staying with friends and could not be reached. The details of this story were gathered from court documents, police affidavits and interviews with neighbors and employers.
    Little is known about Evans' life before Bortner and her daughter came into it. His education ended with high school and he since has worked as a manager of several McDonald's restaurants on New Hampshire's Seacoast.
Evans first made news in 1996 when he helped rescue victims of a car crash from their burning vehicle. He was praised as a hero and was given an award by a local newspaper.
    In November of that year, he married 20-year-old Tristan Evans, who now works as an X-ray technician in Dover. Eight months later they had a son.
    By all accounts, the marriage was tumultuous; they were separated by December 1999. In March 2000, Evans was convicted of assaulting his wife and sentenced to a year in jail. The sentence was suspended on condition of good behavior.
    Bortner began dating Evans sometime last summer and moved in with him around September. The trouble for the toddler appears to have started right away.
    Bortner's sister, Jennifer Conley, regularly baby-sat Kassidy in her Kittery home. But soon after Bortner moved in with Evans, Conley and her boyfriend, F. Jeffrey Marshall, noticed signs of trouble.
    Marshall thought little of Evans, whom he described to police as abusive and a heavy drinker who also used cocaine. He said Kassidy changed from being a normal, energetic child to fearful and subdued during the two months that led up to her death. He and Conley said they noticed extensive bruising to Kassidy's face, apparent choke marks around her neck and that she seemed to have trouble walking.
    The girl's injuries were severe enough once that Marshall said he was too embarrassed to take Kassidy out of the house; he was afraid that somebody would accuse him of abuse.
   "Marshall stated that it was almost a family joke that no one other than Marshall and his girlfriend, Jennifer Conley, could baby-sit Kassidy, due to concern that anyone else would report the injuries," state police Sgt. James White wrote. It's not clear whether anyone who suspected Kassidy was being mistreated ever told authorities; state law prevents officials from discussing allegations or investigations of abuse.
    Bortner told police that when she first noticed Kassidy acting strangely, she asked Evans about bringing her to a doctor. The answer was no.
    She said they agreed to lie about her injuries, and routinely said Kassidy hurt herself falling down stairs or off their trampoline.
Around 4 p.m. on Nov. 8, Bortner left Kassidy with Marshall as she headed to work. About an hour later, Evans called Marshall to say he was coming to take the girl home.
Marshall said Evans called him around 5:30 p.m., telling him "the retard" was acting strangely, that her head was bobbing around and that she was drooling. Evans later told police he called to ask whether Marshall had beaten the girl.
    Marshall said Evans called a second time around 6 p.m. He said one minute Kassidy had been standing next to the car, the next she was face down on the pavement.
Later that evening, Marshall said he called again, telling him that his son and Kassidy had been playing when the girl was hit in the head with a ball. He said Kassidy was unconscious and her eyes had rolled back in her head.
    Kassidy woke up crying around 6:30 a.m. the next day. Bortner said the girl's head was bobbing backward and that she seemed tired, ate little or nothing and that her eyes were rolled back in her head. But the mother didn't take her to a doctor.
    Instead, shortly after 8 a.m. she dropped off Kassidy at Marshall's home. He and Conley said they immediately noticed new bruises on the girl's face, saying the injuries never had been that severe. Bortner agreed.
    Marshall said Evans called shortly after Bortner left, saying he had been called by the state Division for Children, Youth and Families and wanted to know who had contacted them. The court records don't indicate what Marshall said.
During this time, Kassidy was lying on a bed.
    When Marshall tried to wake her, she didn't respond. He also noticed that her eyes were rolled back and she was having trouble breathing. He called for help, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead that afternoon....
    At 9 p.m. on Nov. 16, Evans was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Four days later he was released on $100,000 bail. Since then, the charges against him have multiplied and intensified, including a charge that he assaulted Bortner.
    Evans also said the injuries on her face were not caused by him, though he acknowledged once picking her up by her head. He said he did it to keep her from falling off the trampoline. He also said Marshall told him he once hit Kassidy so hard his hand stung and her face was bruised.
    Though it's not clear under Maine law whether Marshall and Conley can be charged with not reporting their suspicions of abuse, New Hampshire law leaves open that possibility for Bortner.... 

21 January 2001 "CHILD'S DEATH EXPOSES HOLE IN MAINE'S REPORTING LAW" Portland Press Herald, from the Associated Press, by Glenn Adams

The article begins....

   The horrifying death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner has brought to light what could be life-and-death differences between Maine and New Hampshire's child abuse reporting laws.
    And now some lawmakers, including one representing the Kittery area where the child was last seen alive while in a baby sitter's care, are calling for changes. The Rochester, N.H., child died in November after repeatedly being subjected to physical abuse. Chad Evans, a boyfriend of Kassidy's mother, is charged in the death.
    Two of those who noticed a deterioration in the child's condition leading up to the time of her death are Jennifer Conley and her boyfriend, F. Jeffrey Marshall, who baby-sat Kassidy regularly in their Kittery home.
    But they apparently never told authorities -- and may well not have been required by law to do so.
    State Rep. Stephen Estes, D-Kittery, says the case highlights a contrast between the reporting laws in Maine and its neighboring state.
    In Maine, specific professionals, including doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners, educators, camp counselors, police, clergy, social workers and others, are required to report signs of abuse to authorities.
    Maine's list includes "child care personnel," but it does not appear to apply to baby sitters. "Unless they're clearly professional child care providers, the law is not clear as to whether informal baby sitters are covered," Maine Assistant Attorney General Deanna White said.
    New Hampshire's law is all-inclusive; it requires such reports by anyone who comes into contact with children showing signs of abuse.... 

21 January 2001  "Abused girl's death prompts legislation in Maine"  Boston Globe.

-- (Boston.com) The horrifying death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner has brought to light what could be life-and-death differences between Maine and New Hampshire's child abuse reporting laws. And now some lawmakers, including one representing the Kittery area where the child was last seen alive while in a baby sitter's care, are calling for changes. See printed version "Maine Baby's death brings call to clarify abuse-reporting law"

20 January 2001 "21-month-old girl suffered for months before being killed" Boston Globe

--(Boston.com) It was a family joke that only certain people could baby-sit 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner. That's because anyone else probably would have told someone anyone about the girl's bruises and welts. [Full article in Boston Globe Archives]

15 January 2001 "CHILD'S BRUISES WENT UNREPORTED BY MAINE SITTERS"  Portland Press Herald, from the Associated Press

   Police say the Maine babysitters of a toddler who was beaten to death often saw bruises on the little girl's face but didn't notify them.
    In New Hampshire, anyone who suspects abuse, including babysitters, is obligated to report it. But under Maine law, only professional care providers must report abuse to police. Twenty-one-month-old Kassidy Bortner was beaten to death in November. Her mother's boyfriend, Chad Evans, 29, is charged with second-degree murder.
    Police said Evans had beaten the toddler repeatedly for three months. The babysitters, from Kittery, were told the bruises were accidental, police said.

10 January 2001.  "A grandmother's horror - Kassidy's murder defies logic, Nana says: 'She was so loved.'  Foster's Daily Democrat, on page one, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

YORK, Maine - Two months after Kassidy Caitlyn Bortner was pronounced dead at York Hospital, her grandmother spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the child's life and the family's efforts to cope with her death....

    "Something that no one is saying is that Mandy loved Kassidy.  As her mother, I can tell you she absolutely loved her daughter," Conley said. "How could she not?"

   In the final days of September, Conley said there was not a bruise on Kassidy when the pair brought the child to her home. She also stated that Kassidy was her usual, happy self.....   

10 January 2001. "Young girl's autopsy results still not final"  Foster's Daily Democrat, on page 3A, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

YORK, Maine - The results of an autopsy are still being withheld for a 21-month-old Rochester, N.H. girl who died after allegedly being abused for weeks....

   Preliminary autopsy results cited by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office indicate the cause of Kassidy's death is believed to be blunt-force trauma to the head...

9 January 2001"Relatives want Amanda Bortner to phone home"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — It's been exactly two months since 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner was beaten to death, and her family would like to get help for the child's mother, but they're having difficulty locating her.
    Kassidy's mother, Amanda (Mandy) Bortner, turned 19 just a few days ago, and her family said they have no idea where she is now living.
   "We don't really know where Mandy is, but we would like her to get some kind of counseling to deal with this situation and to relate to her family again," said Bob Conley, Amanda's uncle who lives in Buckfield. "I was there the day of the tragedy, and she's going through a lot emotionally.
   "We suspect that her and Chad (Evans) have been in contact again. Knowing his history with women and children, it's not in her best interest to have contact of any kind with him."...
   "She was a beautiful, innocent little girl," Marshall told the Portsmouth Herald on Monday.
    The couple said they regret not recognizing the abuse that had allegedly been going on since Aug. 1, saying they believed the excuses made by Bortner and Evans for Kassidy's bruises.
   "These are people you trust," Marshall said.
   "She's my sister," Jennifer Conley added tearfully.
    New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said rumors that Evans and Bortner are back together have not been confirmed, but if they are seeing each other, Evans would be violating the conditions of his bail.
   "The defendant is prohibited from having contact with material witnesses, and (Bortner) is one of the people who the defendant is prohibited from having contact with," Delker said....
   "Mandy does not want to contact her family whenever she is with Chad," Bob Conley said. "We all have a serious suspicion that he has been in contact with her and might even be trying to convince her he's not responsible and she shouldn't testify against him."...
    However, Bob Conley said he has reviewed the autopsy results.
   "The family knows what the results are and who we believe is responsible for Kassidy's death," he said.
    Evans told authorities he believes Marshall is responsible for Kassidy's death, but that is absolutely untrue, Marshall said.
   "We feel that he's obviously a desperate person trying to turn this situation around," Marshall said. "This is about a child and a human life that has been lost."
Bob Conley agrees with Marshall. He said Kassidy responded positively around Marshall, but was submissive around Evans.
    Court documents say that Evans grabbed Kassidy's throat, face and limbs repeatedly. Hamel confirmed reports that Evans allegedly threw the child against the walls of his home and prevented her from receiving treatment for her wounds, which Evans inflicted.
Jennifer Conley said she finds it hard to believe that Evans is out on bail.
   "I don't understand why he's out walking on the streets," she said. "It scares me."
Jennifer's sister, Lindsey Conley, is also surprised by Evans' release.
   "Kas shouldn't have died, for she was a very innocent child, and I will not forgive Chad (Evans)," Lindsey Conley said in an earlier interview. "I do not understand how someone could take out their anger or frustration or whatever on someone else's child or even their own child. To me, those types of actions are unforgivable, and you cannot mend the wounds, for they are scars that will stay with the victim or the victim's family forever."
Evans, who is out on $100,000 bail, had not returned phone calls from the Portsmouth Herald at press time....
    Bortner's family is hoping she contacts them to let them know she is doing all right.
When asked what he would say to his niece if he knew Bortner's whereabouts, Bob Conley responded, "Your family cares about you and would like you to get help to deal with such a tragic situation."

8 January 2001 "N.H. infant death trend stuns state officials"  Keene Sentinel from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article....

ROCHESTER - The former Keene man accused in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl told police he didn't kill the girl, though he admits he played "rough" with her to "toughen her up," court documents say....     New Hampshire's chief medical examiner says he is stunned by the number of young children killed in the state last year....

   "Talk about the slaughter of the innocent. This is cause for great alarm."

7 January 2001 "The littlest deaths; Number of unattended baby deaths raises alarm"   Union Leader by Nancy West

Excerpts from the article...

   One of the most troubling stories of 2000 went largely unnoticed -- detailed in a few articles and news briefs throughout the year.
    It's the story of how many babies died in New Hampshire with no grown-up to ease their suffering, no loving caretaker to make things right.
Four babies were the victims of homicide in 2000, according to Assistant Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.
    The deaths of three more babies during the year have been characterized as untimely and are under continuing investigation by police and her office, Ayotte said. One of the homicides, that of Kassidy Bortner, 21 months old, on Nov. 9, was more publicized after her mother's boyfriend, Chad Evans, 29, of Rochester was charged with beating Kassidy to death.
    Court records allege Evans repeatedly beat Kassidy for three months, threw her against walls and broke her leg and arm in separate incidents last summer and fall.
Evans told police he didn't kill the girl but admitted playing "rough" with her to "toughen her up," according to court records.
   "It's difficult in a small state to categorize any number as a lot, but certainly the deaths of seven children is unacceptable. The death of one child is unacceptable and our office and police agencies are looking into these deaths," Ayotte said.
    Dr. Thomas Andrew, the state's chief medical examiner, said he has never seen so many homicides of young children in New Hampshire in a single year. In the last decade, the state has averaged one or two homicides of children under 4 each year.
"What we saw in 2000 is clearly extremely alarming. Not only was the number of child deaths high, but these were very young children. Talk about the slaughter of the innocent. This is cause for great alarm," Andrew said.
    Assistant Attorney General Ayotte and authorities provided the following public information about the four baby deaths classified as homicides:
* Jan. 3 -- Skylar Fleetwood, 2 months old, died of asphyxiation. His mother, Jessica Fleetwood, of Manchester, was 20 years old when she was charged with second-degree murder in his death. Court records allege she told police she pressed Skylar's face against her chest for 15 minutes as the infant struggled, then placed him face down in his bassinet.
* Feb. 12 -- Jayda Warner Hodgdon of Lancaster was 6 months old when she was shot to death by her father, Jason Hodgdon, 26, who later killed himself while being pursued by police.
* Sept. 10 -- Joseph Thornton, 31/2 months old, died at a hospital in Berlin. His mother, Terry Thornton, 24, of Colebrook, was charged Dec. 18 with manslaughter in connection with his death.
* Nov. 9 -- Kassidy Bortner of Rochester, was 21 months old. Chad Evans, 29, was charged with second-degree murder and other crimes for allegedly repeatedly abusing her and withholding medical care before the beating that ended her life. Evans was the boyfriend of Kassidy's mother and had once been hailed as a Union Leader hero for helping to pull two people from a burning vehicle.
    Assistant Attorney General Ayotte released the following names as being baby deaths that have been labeled untimely and remain under investigation
by police and her office:
* June 29 -- Codie Haycock, 8 days old, son of Michelle Haycock, was found dead in an apartment at 147 Oak St., Berlin. The death is being called untimely. The autopsy was completed, but hasn't been released pending the conclusion of the Attorney General's Office investigation.
* Nov. 8 -- Koty Walden of Conway, 14 months old, son of Duane and Melissa Walden. The death is being called untimely.
* Dec. 7 -- Jeffrey D. Trudeau of Dover was 31/2 months old. Police responded to the report of the death of a baby at his home, an apartment at 15 Hampshire Circle. His death has been labeled untimely.
   "Until we come to the realization that what we are doing to children is unconscionable, no amount of regulation, supervision or oversight is going to change it," Andrew said.
He is not throwing up his hands in defeat, however.
   "Obviously, there is a role for agencies like the Division for Children, Youth and Families to act and act decisively with all their authority. But this horror will continue until we face up to the fact that children are not property to do with as you choose," Andrew said.
He said it would be misleading to call the high number of deaths a trend when working with numbers that are generally so small. But he worries about seeing so many while the economy is good, when homicides usually go down.
   "I'm hoping this is a freakish year. If this is what happens to kids in economic good times, what happens in recession years?" Andrew asked. People tread a fine line when reporting suspected child abuse of being labeled anti-family, Andrew said, but he hopes teachers, daycare providers and anyone who has contact with children learn about child abuse and be vigilant in reporting it.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

6 January 2001 "Man accused in toddler's death admits he was playing 'rough' "  Union Leader, from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER (AP) -- A Rochester man charged in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl told police he didn't kill the girl, although he admits he played "rough" with her to "toughen her up," according to court documents....
    Court records say Evans had beaten Kassidy repeatedly for three months, threw her against walls and broke her leg and arm in separate incidents last summer and fall.
    Evans faces charges in New Hampshire because authorities allege that's where he inflicted the fatal injuries. But Maine authorities also have been involved because Kassidy's aunt in Kittery, Maine, was baby-sitting her the day she died.
    The recently unsealed documents also say the mother and a relative who baby-sat the girl knew she was being abused months before she died, and protected the abuser.
Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, 18, told police she knew of several instances when her boyfriend beat the child, court records indicate.
    And Bortner's sister, Jennifer Conley, told police she saw bruises on the toddler's face during the two months Bortner lived with Evans, and said the child had become fearful and withdrawn.
   "(Amanda) Bortner said that Evans had abused Kassidy for approximately four-six weeks," according to court records. "Specifically, she cited incidents where Evans grabbed Kassidys face in palming fashion and threw her into corner in the home hard enough for Kassidy to strike her head on the floor and/or wall.
   "On two occasions, Evans choked Kassidy until she gagged to stop Kassidy from crying. Also, once when he was angry, Evans picked Kassidy up by her head," the affidavit states.
    Though authorities say Evans beat Kassidy sometime between the early evening of Nov. 8 and the morning of Nov. 9, Evans tells a different story in his interviews with police. He appears to blame Conley's live-in boyfriend, F. Jefferey Marshall.
   "He stated that he picked Kassidy up at Marshall's house on Nov. 8 and Kassidy was acting funny. Kassidy was quieter than normal. She was leaning forward in the seat in the car and drooling," Evans told police. Evans then said he called Marshall to ask whether he had beaten Kassidy, the affidavit states.
    Evans also told police he was only alone with Kassidy a few times and that "Marshall admitted that Marshall hit Kassidy so hard that his hand stung and Kassidy was black and blue."...

5 January 2001 "Child abuse covered up, records say - Ex-Keene man accused in death; mom, sister protected him" The Keene Sentinel, page 3 by Sentinel Staff Writers and Associated Press.

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - The mother and relative who baby-sat a 21-month-old girl knew she was being abused months before she died, and protected the abuser, court documents allege....

   The court documents also indicate the the child died after months of abuse that her mother, Amanda Bortner, 18, and two babysitters were aware of, but did not report....   Although Kassidy died in Maine, Evans faces charges only in New Hampshire because that's where he allegedly inflicted the child's fatal injuries.

   While Maine authorities assisted in the investigation, "based on the evidence gleaned thus far... we do not expect to bring charges in the state of Maine regarding the death of Kassidy Bortner or any other offenses against her," said Maine State Police Sgt. Matthew Stewart.

4 January 2001. "Sex abuse suspected - Officials say observations won't result in charges at this time"  Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - Recently unsealed affidavits in the murder case of Kassidy Bortner contain suspicions that the 21-month-old girl may have been sexually assaulted, but so far, authorities do not expect to file charges relating to alleged injuries.... 

   New Hampshire State Trooper Jill Rocky also observed injuries on Kassidy's body, the affidavit states, noting the chidl's "vagina was irritated and visibly swollen; and there appeared to be irritation to the child's anus.".... 

4 January 2001 "Dead toddler had abrasions, bruises"  Union Leader by D. Allan KerrExcerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER -- While conducting an autopsy on the body of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner in November, Maine's chief medical examiner noticed "pinpoint" abrasions on the bottom of the toddler's feet.
    Dr. Patricia Greenwald observed about 10 of the abrasions in the middle of the sole of each foot. According to documents from Rochester District Court, the medical examiner concluded that they were caused by a hairbrush, dull pin or fork used to strike the feet within days of Kassidy's death.
    These and other details seem to support the contention of prosecutors that the little girl was subjected to repeated abuse before she died Nov. 9. Her mother's boyfriend, Chad Evans, 29, of 191 Milton Road, Rochester, has been charged with second-degree murder and a number of other crimes in connection with Kassidy's death....
    According to court affidavits, Greenwald observed numerous bruises over the back and top of the toddler's head, as well as on the forehead, chin, temple, cheek and lips. She also found hemorrhaging in the muscle tissue of the girl's abdomen which she judged to be consistent with the result of a punch or kick.
    The documents also state that wire dog brushes, hair brushes and similar items were seized from Evans' home by police a week after Kassidy's death.
    The documents written by Sgt. James White of the State Police Major Crime Unit include summaries of White's interview with F. Jeffrey Marshall, the boyfriend of Kassidy's aunt.... The affidavit relates that Marshall described Kassidy as "a normal, energetic toddler" before she and her mother began living with Evans. The child became "fearful and subdued" in the weeks prior to her death, and the couple noticed extensive bruising on her face and that she had difficulty putting weight on one leg. When asked about the leg, the girl's mother responded that "Evans had pulled on Kassidy's leg and that she had been walking in that fashion ever since."...

4 January 2001 "STATE CONTACTED FAMILY JUST BEFORE CHILD'S DEATH"  Portland Press Herald, from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

State social workers were checking on Kassidy Bortner's welfare before the toddler was beaten to death in November, court records show.
    The records show the state tried to contact her family just hours before she died on Nov. 9. The documents were unsealed last week in a challenge filed by The Keene Sentinel. Chad Evans, 29, of Rochester, is charged in the death.
    The documents indicate Evans received a telephone call from the Division for Children, Youth and Families the morning of Nov. 9. Shortly after noon that day, Kassidy was rushed to York (Maine) Hospital from her aunt's home in Kittery, Maine. The 21-month-old girl was pronounced dead at the hospital....
    According to court records, Evans had beaten Kassidy repeatedly for three months. The records say Evans threw her against walls and broke her leg and arm in separate incidents last summer and fall.
    Pursuant to confidentiality rules, the agency will not talk about its involvement in the case prior to Kassidy's death.
    The records show that investigators received information about the call from Jeffrey Marshall of Kittery, boyfriend of the child's aunt, Jennifer Conley, who often baby-sat for Kassidy.
    John Wallace, associate commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said he could not comment on the case despite the revelations in the court records.
   "We are simply not at liberty to discuss details of referrals," he said.
    Wallace said if a call was made to the agency concerning Kassidy, the case would have been assigned to a social worker and an investigation would have been started within 72 hours. In some cases, he said, a quicker response is necessary.
    Marshall told investigators he had a telephone conversation with Evans on Nov. 9 just after Bortner dropped Kassidy off at Marshall's house, according to the court affidavit.
Marshall also said Evans asked him who had complained about Kassidy and asked how she was, according to the documents.

3 January 2001  "Ex-Keene man pleads innocent in girl's death"  Keene Sentinel, page 3, from the Associated Press.

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A former Keene man accused of beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter to death remained free on bail Tuesday after pleading innocent to murder charges...   He was a Keene Board of Education member in 1992 while also serving as manager of the McDonald's restaurant on Winchester Street in Keene....

   According to court records, Evans had beaten Kassidy repeatedly for three months. The records say Evans threw Kassidy against walls and broke her leg and arm in separate incidents this summer and fall....

3 January 2001"Man pleads innocent in killing" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace(See similar article in 3 January Union Leader, "Evans pleads.")

Excerpts from the article...

DOVER — A Rochester man charged with beating 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner to death pleaded innocent to a second-degree murder charge at his arraignment Tuesday in Strafford County Superior Court....
   "I will not forgive Chad (Evans)," Kassidy's aunt, Lindsey Conley told the Portsmouth Herald. "I think he is guilty — no question. He should be in jail, it's as simple as that."
Evans could not be reached for comment. His trial date has been set for Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. in Strafford County Superior Court....
    Evans signed a waiver of extradition so if he leaves the state, New Hampshire won't have any problems retrieving him, Delker said....

3 January 2001 "N.H. MAN PLEADS INNOCENT IN DEATH OF 21-MONTH-OLD" Portland Press Herald, from the Associated Press

The article begins....

A man accused of beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter to death remained free on bail Tuesday after pleading innocent to murder charges.
 

3 January 2001 "DCYF too late for Kassidy - State tried to contact Evans' house just hours before baby's death" Foster's Daily Democrat by Kimberly Houghton and Teresa Robinson

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - The state's Division of Children, Youth and Families attempted to contact the family of Kassidy Bortner just hours before the baby died.   The revelation came in court documents unsealed last week as a result of a challenge in late December from the Keene Sentinel newspaper.  Evans was a longtime Keene resident....

   Again on Tuesday, John Wallace, associate commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said he could not comment on the case....   Wallce did confirm if a call was made to the agency concerning Kassidy, the case would have been assigned to a protective worker and that an investigation would have begun within 72 hours of the initial call....

   During two searches of Evans' home, authorities seized a number of bats and brushes, such as plastic grill brushes, wire dog brushes and various hair brushes....

   Each year, about 6,500 children abuse cases are investigated in New Hampshire. Of those cases, about 800 children receive help from state agencies and an estimated 300 children are removed from their homes each year because of maltreatment.

2 January 2001 "Accused baby killer pleads innocent to latest charges - Chad Evans still free on bail after arraignment" Foster's Daily Democrat by Kimberly Houghton Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A local man pleaded innocent this morning to numerous charges in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....

    Kassidy died at York Hospital after Marshall called Kittery Police requesting emergency services for the young girl...."

21 December 2000 "Kassidy's short life of pain"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace (See similar article in 21 December Union Leader by D. Allan Kerr, "Indictments: Child abused repeatedly ")

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — Indictments released by the Strafford County, N.H., grand jury on Tuesday suggest that 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner had been beaten regularly for at least three months prior to her death.
In fact, police say there were several visible signs of abuse including a broken arm and leg.
    Chad E. Evans, 29, of 191 Milton Road in Rochester, faces life in prison on a charge of second-degree murder. Kassidy died on Nov. 9 from multiple blows to her head and abdomen, Kittery Detective Steve Hamel confirmed Wednesday.
Kittery Patrolman Robert Creamer was the first officer to arrive on scene and performed CPR on Kassidy.
   "She was lying on her back, unconscious, with just a diaper on and her face was battered with multiple, multiple bruises in different spots," Creamer said. "There were several bruises on her abdomen."
    Creamer said the toddler's eyes were open, but she had no vital signs. He checked her for a pulse and said her body was cold. The veteran officer performed CPR, but was unable to revive the toddler.
    The court documents say that Evans grabbed Kassidy's throat, face and limbs repeatedly. Hamel confirmed reports that Evans allegedly threw the child against the walls of his home and prevented her from receiving treatment for her wounds, which Evans inflicted....
    Hamel said all evidence points to Evans, who also faces a simple assault charge for allegedly abusing the child's mother.
    "To bring a case as tragic as this to prosecution so quickly is a relief to not only the victim's family, but to the community as well," Hamel said.
    Lindsey Conley, Kassidy's aunt, said she was shocked to hear of her niece's death.

20 December 2000 "Abuse details released - Evans allegedly beat toddler for months before her death"  Foster's Daily Democrat by Kimberly Houghton (See same article in Keene Sentinel, "Keene native indicted in tot's death - Police allege Evans' assaults on toddler were recurring acts" )

Excerpts from the article....[Foster's] EDITOR'S NOTE: Graphic content in the following story may be unsuitable for some readers.

ROCHESTER - Chad E. Evans allegedly assaulted 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner several times over a three-month period - beating the child and throwing her into walls - before she died Nov. 9, according to indictments released Tuesday.   The court documents state that the Rochester man, indicted on a charge of second-degree murder, also continuously grabbed and squeezed Kassidy's face, and fractured her leg and arm during separate incidents this fall and summer.   But it was multiple blows to the girl's head and abdomen that resulted in her death, the indictments state....

  "Evans bruised Kassidy's body and fractured her bones by repeatedly grabbing Kassidy by the face, throat, arms and legs by propelling Kassidy into the walls of the home, causing Kassidy to strike the walls," the court documents state....

   Kassidy was repeatedly assaulted from about Aug. 1 until her death, the indictments said....

   Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Children, Youth and Families have said the agency is involved in the investigation of Kassidy's death. However, the agency has not confirmed or denied if it was contacted prior to the girl's death....

16 December 2000 "Murder indictment - Evans accused of inflicting multiple blows to girl's head and abdomen" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 2Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A local man who was facing a manslaughter charge for allegedly beating a 21-month-old girl to death has been indicted on a charge of murder...

       Kassidy was reportedly put down for a nap shortly after her arrival and Marshall called police when he found her to be unresponsive several hours later....

         "This case has been the subject of an intensive, coordinated investigation by Maine and New Hampshire law enforcement authorities," New Hampshire Attorney General Philip T. McLaughlin said in a statement released Friday....   

   In a press release issued Friday by McLaughlin with New Hampshire State Police Colonel Gary Sloper, Maine State Police Colonel Michael R. Sperry, Kittery Police Chief Edward Strong and Rochester Police Chief Daniel Auger, the cause of Kassidy's death is listed as traumatic injury to the head....

16 December 2000 "Charges against Chad Evans are upgraded in death of 20-month-old" Portsmouth Herald, by James Buchanan  (See similar article in 16 December Union Leader by Peg Warner, "Charges upgraded in baby's death to murder") Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — The man that police say is responsible for the death of 20-month-old Kassidy Bortner has been indicted by the Strafford County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder.
    Thursday's indictment charges Chad Evans, 29, with recklessly causing Kassidy's death by inflicting multiple blows to the toddler's head and abdomen, according to a press release by the New Hampshire attorney general's office.
    Indictments also charge Evans with several counts of assault in connection with alleged incidents of abuse that occurred during the months before Kassidy's death.
    Also on Thursday, Evans was charged with endangering the life of a child and with the alleged assault of Kassidy's mother, Amanda Bortner, 18....
    The child reportedly was put down for a nap at 8:30 a.m. and was found to be unresponsive at noon. Conley called 911 a little before 1 p.m. Kassidy was transported to York Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival....
    The decision to bring charges in New Hampshire is based on evidence obtained during the investigation regarding the cause, nature and timing of Kassidy's injuries, according to police.

14 December 2000 "Hearing rescheduled in death of toddler"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine — A probable cause hearing for a Rochester, N.H., man accused of beating to death his girlfriend's daughter has been rescheduled for Jan. 8.

   This is the third such hearing scheduled for Chad E. Evans, 29, of 191 Milton Road.
    He was arrested on Nov. 9 and charged with recklessly causing the death of 21-month-old Kassidy Bortner by inflicting blunt injury to her head, resulting in the manslaughter charge, according to New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter.
    The child's aunt, Jennifer Conley, and Conley's live-in boyfriend, F. Jeffrey Marshall of Kittery, were baby-sitting the toddler on Nov. 9. The child was found to be nonresponsive after a nap and was then taken to York Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
    Marshall did not wish to comment on the incident when contacted by telephone Wednesday.
    Evans' bail was set at $100,000 cash or surety: $50,000, for the manslaughter charge and another $50,000 for violation of probation, Carter said.
   "There are a number of bail conditions, including that Mr. Evans not have contact with the victim's family," Carter said.
    Carter said no charges are being brought against the child's mother, Amanda Bortner, or anyone else at this time, but the investigation is continuing.
Carter also said Evans was on probation for an assault charge related to a domestic violence incident in March involving his former wife. Evans allegedly violated that probation by being arrested for the manslaughter charge, a felony, and also for having ammunition in his home.
    At the probable cause hearing, a judge will listen to the evidence against Evans and decide whether the state should continue with prosecution. If the judge decides there is sufficient evidence to continue, the case would then be forwarded to Strafford County Superior Court.
    Defense attorney Alan J. Cronheim of Portsmouth said that Evans did not inflict injury on Kassidy Bortner and that his client has cooperated completely with the investigation.
    The attorney general's office and police have not released details about the child's death. 

13 December 2000 "Hearing delayed in toddler death case" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 4B

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A probable cause hearing for a local man accused in the beating death of his girlfriend's daughter has been rescheduled for Jan. 8....

   Evans faces one charge of manslaughter. However, a Strafford County grand jury could come back with additional or increased charges once it meets this month....   

  "We are working to piece together the details of Kassidy Bortner's life in the days, weeks and months leaving up to her death," [Assistant Attorney General] Carter said following Evans' arrest. "We are seeking some measure of justice in this utterly senseless act."....

9 December 2000  "Toddler death still a mystery - A month has passed, details remain elusive"Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 4B

Excerpts from the article...

YORK, Maine - It has been exactly one month since a Rochester, N.H. toddler was pronounced dead at York Hospital, and still the circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear....

     Bortner was one of the individuals to speak about Kassidy's death. According to one family member, the child's mother told relatives and friends it is very difficult to raise a child as a teen-age mother....

8 December 2000 "Panel: State agency fails to protect N.H. children - Watchdog group telling state DCYF it's time to clean up act" Foster's Daily Democrat, from the Associated Press, page 8B

The article begins..

CONCORD (AP) - The state agency responsible for protecting children has not complied with a 1997 federal court ruling ordering it to clean up its act, a watchdog panel said in a report released Thursday.

   The three-member panel wrote in its 53-page report that the Division for Children, Youth and Families has made "little or no progress" and in some cases there have been "worsening situations"in the protectng of those in its care....

5 December 2000 "Evans wants more time to prepare" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Kimberly Houghton, Page 1B

The article begins...

ROCHESTER - Defense counsel for a local man charged in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl requested that the suspect's court hearing be postponed so it would have more time to prepare...

2 December 2000 "Hearing canceled in baby death case" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Kimberly Houghton, Page 2AThe article begins...

ROCHESTER - A probable cause hearing scheduled for Monday for the man accused of beating his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter to death has been canceled....

30 November 2000 "Autopsy results on little girl might be out in a few weeks" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 8

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YORK, Maine - After initially saying it may take up to three months to release the autopsy results for a 21-month-old girl who was allegedly beaten, the medical examiner said Wednesday it may only be several weeks....

29 November 2000 "Unknown person posted Evans' bail" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine - Although no one will say who posted bail for a Rochester, N.H. man accused in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl, a man familiar with the bond field said anonymity is not unusual in a case like this....

   The bail conditions include no contact with Evans' girlfriend, Amanda Bortner - Kassidy's mother. Foster's has learned that Bortner left New England for Texas, but officials will neither confirm not deny that information.  Bortner has not been charged in connection with her daughter's death.

   Evans is also required to stay away from other state witnesses in the case, including Bortner's sister, Jennifer Conley, and Conley's boyfriend, F. Jefferey Marshall. The pair live in Kittery, and were looking after Kassidy the day she died....

28 November 2000 "DCYF official: Overwhelming case loads, laws make it difficult to fight abuse" Foster's Daily Democrat by Kimberly Houghton

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ROCHESTER - As authorities search for answers in the beating death of a young girl, a state official says there are several roadblocks that make it difficult to prevent children from being abused....

28 November 2000 "Evans' bail terms: No restrictions on contact with children"Foster's Daily Democrat by Jennifer L. Saunders

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YORK, Maine - After making bail the day before Thanksgiving, a Rochester, N.H. man accused of beating his girlfriend's daughter to death is out of jail with no restrictions regarding contact with children....

   The little girl died at York hospital that afternoon from what officials have described as a "blunt injury to her head."...

   He does need to check in with probation officials, however, because he is on probation after pleading guilty to simple assault charges against his ex-wife in March....

   During court proceedings earlier this month, Evans' ex-wife was awarded full custody of their 3-year-old-son.  Evans is allowed visitation with his son only with his ex-wife's supervision....

22 November 2000 "One toll-free call could have saved Kassidy" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

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YORK, Maine - On Nov. 9, a blue-eyed toddler whose greatest concern should have been learning new words died from what officials have deemed "senseless" abuse....

   In the almost two weeks since Kassidy's death, friends and family members of the child's mother, 18-year-old Amanda Bortner, have stated they knew or suspected the child was being abused in the weeks and months leading up to her death. Like many who suspect abuse, however, they said they did not report it....

22 November 2000 "Hearing in death is delayed." Union Leader by D. Allan KerrExcerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER -- Chad Evans, the one-time hero now accused of killing a toddler, is being held on $100,000 bail in Strafford County House of Corrections....
In November 1996, Evans -- a McDonald's manager -- helped pull two people out of a burning vehicle, and suffered burns and smoke inhalation himself in the process. He was later recognized with a Union Leader Hero Award for his efforts.

21 November 2001 "Bail set for man accused in baby's death" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Kimberly Houghton, Page 1

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ROCHESTER - A local man charged in the beating death of a 21-month-old girl was granted bail Monday in Rochester District Court....

   Carter said it is imperative that Evans have no contact with the witnesses, maintaining that he could "intimidate" them and possibly influence their testimony....

   Although Evans is now behind bars, just four years ago he was deemed a hero for saving three area residents from a burning vehicle.

   A different side of Evans was brought to light Nov. 1, 1996, when he risked his own life to help the victims of a serious car accident on Route 125 in front of his home....

   Evans was commended for saving the lives of Peter J. Rodgers, 21, of Dover; Christian A. Pare, 21, of Milton; and Mitchell E. Hartford, 21, of Sanbornville.

18 November 2000 "Who is to blame? - State DCYF official won't deny agency knew about abuse" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Kimberly Houghton, Page 1

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ROCHESTER - An official at the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Children, Youth and Families stated Friday that the agency is invovled in the investigation of  local toddler's death, but would not state if it was contacted prior to her death...

18 November 2000 "Who is to blame? - Authorities look for deeper answers Foster's Daily Democrat, by Teresa Robinson, Page 1

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ROCHESTER - While one man sits behind bars in connection with the beating death of a 21-month-old local girl, authorities ae looking at other people who might be responsible....

  Preliminary autopsy results indicate the girl died as a result of blunt force injury to the head...

   ...the Child Protection Act's Reporting Law, RSA 169-C.29, states that suspicions of abuse or neglect are required to be reported.    The law focuses on people such as doctors, teachers and child-care providers, but includes a statement that "any other person having reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected shall report the same."...

18 November 2000 "Who is to blame? - Family prepares for funeral as suspect faces charges" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

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ROCHESTER - As the family of 21-month-old Cassidy Bortner gathers in Maine to prepare for her funeral, the man accused of beating her to death is being held without bail.    In a photograph given to Foster's Daily Democrat by a relative, the toddler smiles out atthe world, her blue eyes full of hope.    In reality, however, authorities are painting a picture of senseless abuse, which culminated in the death of an innocent, helpless child....

18 November 2000 "Obituary - Kassidy Caitlyn Bortner"  Portland Press Herald

Kassidy Caitlyn Bortner, 21 months, died Nov. 9, 2000, at York Hospital.
She was born in Biddeford, a daughter of Amanda Jean Bortner, and was raised by her mother, grandmother and uncle, Joshua. She was a resident of Springvale, but had lived in Buckfield, Kittery and Rochester, N.H., most recently.
    Surviving are her mother of Springvale; her grandparents, Paul and Jacqueline Conley of Buckfield; and great-grandparents, Christian and Doris Strol of Pennsylvania and Gerald and Brenda Conley of Florida.
    A private funeral service will be held at Andrews Funeral Home, Buckfield. Burial will be in Buckfield/Damon Cemetery, Buckfield.

18 November 2000 "Former 'hero'charged in girl's beating death" Union Leader by D. Allan Kerr

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ROCHESTER -- Acclaimed as a hero just four years ago, Chad Evans is behind bars today, accused of killing a 21-month-old girl.
    Evans, 29, of 191 Milton Road, was arraigned yesterday morning in Rochester District Court on the charge of manslaughter.... "Quite simply, he's charged with beating Kassidy to death," Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter said yesterday morning. He described the victim as "utterly helpless and defenseless."...
    Carter argued that Evans represents a danger to others, especially Kassidy's mother and members of her family. Bortner, his 18-year-old live-in girlfriend, maintains that Evans has hit her and head-butted her in the past, according to Carter.
    Evans is known to have a "violent, volatile temper," Carter said.
Defense attorney Alan Cronheim countered that his client has co-operated with police and has no intention of leaving town.
   "He vehemently denies responsibility for this," Cronheim told the judge. "Believe me, he wants to stay so he can deal with this."
    Cronheim requested $25,000 bail, while Carter recommended that -- if there is to be any bail at all bail -- it should be $100,000 in cash or corporate surety.
Evans appeared subdued and apprehensive in the courtroom, which was packed with television news crews and other media. He mainly spoke through his attorney.
    The arrest was the result of a coordinated effort by law enforcement agencies in both New Hampshire and Maine, Carter said on the courthouse steps after the arraignment.    The charges were brought forward in New Hampshire because it is believed that the fatal injury was inflicted in Rochester. The investigation is continuing, according to both Carter and Maine State Police Sgt. Matthew Stewart. Bortner has not been charged in the case.
    Part of the investigation will include an attempt to piece together the history of Kassidy's life, including the final days before her death....
    In November 1996, Evans suffered burns and smoke inhalation while helping to pull two people from a burning vehicle on Route 125, also known as Milton Road. Evans ran from his home on the night of Nov. 1 after hearing a crash and an explosion, and found that a collision between two vehicles had ruptured a gas tank, causing one vehicle to burst into flames. Evans and his 68-year-old neighbor, Marie Altobelli, dragged an unconscious man out of the vehicle and beat out the flames on his burning clothes, then worked to free another passenger who was pinned inside the vehicle. Once he was pulled to safety, they proceeded to extinguish the flames spreading over his clothes as well.
   "I was thinking, I'm going to go up with these guys," Evans recalled at the time. "You think about it now, and you think it was pretty stupid."
    In April 1997, both Evans and Altobelli were presented with Union Leader Hero Awards....  

18 November 2000 "N.H. MAN HELD IN BEATING DEATH OF GIRLFRIEND'S BABY" Portland Press Herald, by Kelly Bouchard

Excerpts from the article...

A Rochester, N.H., man was ordered held without bail Friday on a manslaughter charge in the beating death last week of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....
Kassidy lived with her mother, Amanda Bortner, 18, and Evans, an employee of the McDonald's Restaurants. The mother works as a clerk in a Kittery outlet store. Evans was not the child's father.
   "This is a tragic case and we believe this arrest is the initial step in securing justice for Kassidy," Maine State Police Sgt. Matthew Stewart said Friday.
    Investigators considered Kassidy's death suspicious from the start. They say Amanda Bortner was on her way to work at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 9 when she left her daughter in the care of her sister, Jennifer Conley, and Conley's boyfriend, F. Jefferey Marshall....
Investigators haven't ruled out the possibility of charging others in connection with the toddler's death.
   "We are continuing to look at all of the circumstances of Kassidy's death and her life in the days and weeks and months before her death," said Will Delker, New Hampshire assistant attorney general.

18 November 2000  "Death of toddler is 'senseless'" Portsmouth Herald by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — A local man sat with a somber expression during his arraignment in Rochester District Court on Friday morning, as a judge ordered him held without bail in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter.
   "The death of a child this young and this helpless is senseless and tragic," said New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter. The prosecution is alleging Evans "inflicted a blunt force" to the child's head, and that the alleged act took place between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9....
    The child reportedly was put down for a nap at 8:30 a.m. and was found unresponsive by noon. Conley called 911 a little before 1 p.m., and the child was transported to York Hospital, where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy performed on the child last week.   
   However, the child reportedly had several bruises on her skull.
Defense attorney Alan J. Cronheim of Portsmouth said Evans did not inflict injury on Kassidy Bortner, and his client has cooperated completely with the investigation.
   "He has shown by indicating to the state police that he would not flee," Cronheim said. "His ex-wife is here today to show her support."

   But the prosecution said witnesses described Evans as having a violent temper and being abusive to Amanda Bortner by "butting her in the head and choking her."
    Carter said Evans has also violated his probation for an assault charge related to a domestic violence incident in March. Evans violated his probation by being arrested for a felony and also for having ammunition in his home.
    A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for the defendant at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, and Evans will be detained until that time. Evans is currently being held at the Strafford County jail. Evans works for a McDonald's franchise in New Hampshire, according to Maine State Police Sgt. Matt Stewart.
    Carter commended the Kittery Police Department, Maine State Police, New Hampshire State Police and Rochester Police Department for their cooperation in this joint investigation.

17 November 2000 "Man charged in baby's death - Rochester suspect faces manslaughter, was boyfriend of little girl's mother" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER - A local man is being detained after he was charged with manslaughter Thursday in the beating death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....

   "The death of a child this young and this helpless is beyond any capability of rational understanding," said New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Christopher Carter, adding that he hopes there is some measure of justice for this tragedy....

17 November 2000 "Man held without bail in Rochester baby’s death"  Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER — A local man sat with a somber expression during his arraignment in Rochester Court Friday morning as the judge held him without bail in connection to the death of his girlfriend's 21-month-old daughter....
    A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for the defendant at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
   "The death of a child this young and this helpless is senseless and tragic," said Christopher Carter, the New Hampshire Asst. Attorney General.
    The prosecution is alleging Evans "inflicted a blunt force" to the child's head and that the alleged act took place between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 in the Kittery home of the child's aunt....
    Defense attorney Alan J. Cronheim of Portsmouth said his Evans did not inflict injury on Kassidy Bortner and his client has cooperated completely with the investigation.
   "He has shown by indicating to the state police that he would not flee," Cronheim said.    "His ex-wife is here today to show her support."
    But the prosecution said witnesses have described Evans as having a violent temper and has been abusive to Amanda Bortner by "butting her in the head and choking her."
Carter said Evans has also violated his probation for an assault charge, related to a domestic violence incident in March.
    The child reportedly was put down for a nap at 8:30 a.m. and was found unresponsive by noon. Jennifer Conley called 911 a little before 1 p.m. and the child was transported to York Hospital were she was pronounced dead upon arrival....
    Evans works for a McDonald's franchise in New Hampshire, according to Maine State Police Sgt. Matt Stewart.... 

17 November 2000 "Man charged in death of toddler"  Union Leader from the Associated Press

Excerpts from the article...

ROCHESTER A 29-year-old Rochester man has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a toddler last week.
    Authorities yesterday said they have arrested Chad Evans, whose address was not available last night, in the death of Kassidy Bortner.
    Bortner, who was 1 year and 9 months old, was pronounced dead at a hospital in York, Maine, on Nov. 9. Maine and New Hampshire authorities coordinated an intensive investigation into her death. 
    A press conference will be held after the arraignment.

16 November 2000 "Custody case may have link to baby's death" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Kimberly Houghton, Page 1

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ROCHESTER - While police investigate the suspicious death of a baby girl, a local woman has been denied permission to keep her 3-year-old son away from his father - a man who allegedly lived with the toddler at the time she died.    Strafford County Superior Court Judge Peter Pauver denied the request of Tristan Evans on Wednesday....   

   Although the request was denied, Fauver gave the mother sole custody of her son, allowing only supervised visitation by Evans...

15 November 2000 "No new info in probe of toddler's death" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 3A

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No new information has been released in the ongoing investigation of the death of a Rochester, N.H. toddler....

14 November 2000. "Investigation into toddler death could take months" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

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KITTERY, Maine - Police are continuing their investigation into the death of a Rochester, N.H. toddler, and the state medical examiner's office has stated it could be months before the cause of death is released..... 

14 November 2000 "Officials await child's autopsy results" Portsmouth Herald, by Amy Wallace

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KITTERY, Maine — Police are continuing their investigation into the "suspicious" death of a 21-month-old Rochester, N.H., girl while they await the results of the infant's autopsy.
   "We're continuing our investigation into Cassidy's death," said Maine State Police Sgt. Matthew Stewart. "We are considering the circumstances surrounding Cassidy's death and injuries to be of a suspicious nature."
   "We are still in the early stages of the investigation," Stewart said.

13 September 2000 "Officials still investigating toddler's death - Autopsy results withheld pending further analysis" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

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KITTERY, Maine - The state's medical examiner's office is continuing to withhold the cause of death for a 21-month-old Rochester girl pending further analysis..... 

12 November 2000.  "Toddler's Death Probed"  in "NH News Notes" in the Union Leader.

Excerpts from the article...

....Cassidy Bortner was pronounced dead Thursday in York Hospital in Maine. Authorities have characterized it as a suspicious death.
    Steve McCausland, a spokesman for Maine State Police, yesterday said police searched the home of the toddler's mother, Amanda Bortner, 18, in Rochester and are continuing to interview people.
   "We are waiting for the conclusions of the medical examiner's office," McCausland said.
He said the cause of death has yet to be determined.
   "There have been a number of interviews conducted in addition to re-interviews," McCausland said. Cassidy Bortner was transported from her baby-sitter's home in Kittery, Maine, to York Hospital where she was pronounced dead on Thursday, McCausland said.
    McCausland said the baby-sitter had called police and rescue units and reported the baby was unresponsive.

11 November 2000 "Police Probing Toddler's Death"  Portland Press Herald by Ted Cohen

Excerpts from the article...

    State police on Friday were investigating what they called the "suspicious nature" of the death of a 21-month-old girl who died at her sitter's home.
    Cassidy Bortner apparently died Thursday before being rushed from a Rogers Road home to York Hospital, said police Sgt. Matthew Stewart. "Our initial impression is that some injuries and the circumstances are of a suspicious nature," Stewart said. He would not describe the location or nature of the injuries....
    Cassidy lived with her mother, 18-year-old Amanda Bortner, in Rochester, N.H. Attempts to reach the baby's mother for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
    Stewart said that Maine and New Hampshire state police, as well as Kittery police, were working on the case. No charges have been filed against anyone in connection with the death. "Our investigation is directed toward determining the nature of the child's death," Stewart said.  He said police had interviewed numerous people, including the sitter, to try to determine what led up to the baby's death.
   "We are continuing to collect evidence and take statements and form as clear and distinct a picture as we possibly can," Stewart.

  Stewart declined to say whether there are suspects in the child's death.
    The house in which the baby was being cared for is about a mile from the Kittery Police Department. Police would not identify the baby sitter, whose address is a multifamily property. 

11 November 2000 "Toddler's autopsy complete - Officials withhold cause of death pending further study of body of Rochester girl, 1 1/2" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

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KITTERY, Maine - The state's chief medical examiner's office has concluded an autopsy on the body of a 21 month-old who died Thursday under suspicious circumstances, but results are being withheld pending further study....

  They [neighbors] said she liked to be hugged and to get little kisses on her cheek, which she called "loves."

11 November 2000 "Cause of toddler's death is under scrutiny; police call it suspicious"  Portsmouth Herald by Karen Dandurant  (See similar Associated Press article in 11 November Union Leader, "21-month-old's death.")

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY— Police were awaiting the results of an autopsy being performed yesterday, to determine the exact cause of death of 21-month-old Cassidy Bortner. The toddler was the daughter of 18-year-old Amanda Bortner of Rochester....
    Maine State Police Trooper Sgt. Matthew Stewart said they were still in the process of conducting interviews and waiting for word on the cause of death. "No charges are pending at this point," said Stewart.

10 November 2000 "Toddler's death suspicious" Foster's Daily Democrat, by Jennifer L. Saunders, Page 1

Excerpts from the article...

KITTERY, Maine - State and local police are searching for clues in the death of a New Hampshire toddler while neighbors are mourning the loss and fearing she was a victim of child abuse...

  .... said William Peirce, a neighbor of Jefferey Marshall, the man who took care of her at least once each week in Kittery. "She liked Cocoa Puffs. That's what she had for breakfast this morning."   Peirce took a deep breath, picturing the child he knew only by the name of Kassidy. He remembered how happy she had been with a stuffed toy Marshall purchased for her at Wal-Mart. Just the day before, Peirce recalled, he had held her in his arms.  "She would say, 'Give us loves,' and give you little kisses here," he said, touching his cheek.   The little girl...had been dropped off at the home of Marshall, a family friend, shortly after 8 a.m. on Thursday, according to a neighbor....

   Marshall had been looking after the little girl at least once a week for several months in his Rogers Road apartment while the mother spend time with her boyfriend or went to work at one of the Kittery outlets, a neighbor said.  On Thursday morning, the neighbor said, either Bortner or her boyfriend told Marshall that 21-month-old Cassidy had been struck in the head with a baseball while playing with it in the Rochester residence the night before.   As the morning went on, one neighbor said that Marshall mentioned the little girl seemed to be tired or lethargic. ...

   "He just didn't know how serious this was," Peirce said of the child's head injury. When Marshall received word of the child's death, Peirce said he was devastated, crying and saying, "She was just a little baby girl."   "She was so precious," said Tom McNeil, who resided in a separate apartment in the same duplex as Marshall. He said he, Marshall, Peirce and others who knew the toddler could not help but love her sweet nature. "Your natural instinct is just to love and protect. That aonyone could do something else is just inconceivably horrible," he said.  McNeil said he could not stop thinking of Cassidy's large, blue eyes.  He also remembered she wore her long, dark blonde hair in a high pony-tail.   "She was a beautiful little girl," he said, visibly moved by the memory of her. "She loved to be hugged."...

   "She looked so helpless," he [Peirce] said softly.  She was transported from the house by ambulance, he said, and sometime later he asked police how she was doing. "They told us she didn't make it," he said.    For neighbors in the area who saw the little girl fairly regularly, the feeling now is that her tragic death was anything but an accident. They believe Cassidy was fatally injured before she was brought to Marshall's residence.  As one neighbor put it, the signs of child abuse were always there, but they did not recognize it.   "It was right in front of us," he told another neighbor. "It was right there."   On occasions prior to Thursday, the neighbor said, the little girl was brought to the Rogers Road residence with bruises on her face. Each time, however, neighbors said the child's mother and her boyfriend had a plausible excuse for the marks.  With the propensity most toddlers have for falling down and the lack of bruises anywhere but her face, at least on of the Rogers Road residents said he believed the excuses -- until Thursday.

   McNeil never saw bruises on little Cassidy, but recalled her as both a shy child and a little girl who longed for affection. If either of those traits were a reaction to abuse, he said, he wished he had known or seen more of the signs and could have done something before it was too late...