Woman charged with murdering Wiscasset child

Posted:  Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 6:45pm

State Police have arrested a Wiscasset woman and charged her in connection with the death of a 4-year-old girl last Friday. Shawna Gatto, 43, was arrested by detectives at her home just before 6 p.m. and taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Gatto has been charged with murder. Her first court appearance has not yet been scheduled.  State Police said the State Medical Examiner's Office has told them Kendall Chick died from a blunt force injury to the abdomen.

Gatto is the fiancée of the girl's grandfather, Stephen Hood, 53. The child had been living with Hood and Gatto for nearly two years. The decision to charge Gatto was made following a meeting between State Police, the Attorney General's Office and the State Medical Examiner. 

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and Wiscasset police also have been involved in the investigation.

Reached Thursday evening following the Maine Department of Public Safety’s announcement of Gatto’s arrest, Wiscasset Elementary School Principal Stacy White said via email, Kendall was not a student at the pre-kindergarten through grade six school.

“I am saddened by the tragic news of the loss of a youngster in our community. In the event that other children in our community need additional support, the Wiscasset School Department has social work and guidance support available,” White wrote in response to questions from the Wiscasset Newspaper.

Wiscasset Superintendent of Schools Heather Wilmot, also responding via email, said the department has made no formal announcement to families about counseling. “Our social workers and guidance counselors are prepared to provide support when needed,” Wilmot wrote Friday morning.

Gatto is being held without bail pending a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 15. Defense lawyers are being appointed for Gatto. Lisa Marchese of the Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting.