Oakland mother Emily Walker said she will always live with unanswered questions about what happened on the night of May 11, when her twin 2-year-old daughters suffered serious injuries while in the care of her former boyfriend.
“It’s probably going to be a mystery that will always bother me for the rest of my life, unfortunately,” Walker said. “No one’s going to get exactly what happened.”
When Walker arrived at her Oak Street mobile home from work that evening, one daughter, Maddilyn, had a broken arm and the other, Brooklyn, had internal bruising, a broken leg and a shattered elbow. The noses of both girls were bleeding heavily. Maddilyn was having trouble breathing and was not fully aware of her surroundings.
Her boyfriend, David Devine, whom Oakland police have charged with two counts of aggravated assault, told police and Walker that her 4-year-old son, Wyatt, had injured his sisters outside the home with a plastic toy bat.
The nature of the injuries was so severe that authorities say there is no way the 4-year-old could have caused them.
Devine is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Kennebec County jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 29.
He has applied for a court-ordered attorney, according to Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties.
Walker said she doesn’t doubt that Devine injured the girls, but she has a hard time reconciling that idea with the man she began dating a year ago, who didn’t seem capable of such violence.
“It took me a long time to get used to the idea that he did this,” she said. “In my heart I want to believe it wasn’t him, but I can see that it’s a lie.”
Walker is pregnant with Devine’s child and the two had planned to wed this month. They already had chosen a plot of land to buy this summer and build a new home on.
Devine, who worked as a foreman on the Summit Natural Gas pipeline running through the area, met her through mutual friends and also lived just a few doors way from Walker’s mother when they met.
“He’s a very laid-back, calm person anyway,” she said. “He never screamed at the kids. He put them in their room during time-out but never hit them, never spanked them, nothing.”
Walker said she would like a full explanation from Devine.
“The damage, to Brooklyn especially, something big happened,” she said. “Something you did, something happened, you should have that answer.”
Devine’s mother, Susan Wood, said after Devine’s bail hearing on Tuesday that she didn’t believe he injured the girls, and that instead he “loves those little girls.”
Walker responded to those comments Friday morning.
“Obviously, it’s really hard for any mother to think that your son is doing this,” Walker said. “She knows we had a great relationship, but she hasn’t seen all the facts yet.”
Police found blood spatter marks on the wall in the hallway and a blood smear near a window; the affidavit also described blood on a dresser in the girls’ room and a small, bloody handprint on the inside of a closet wall.
The girls were airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment.
Brooklyn is immobilized by casts on her legs and arm. Maddilyn has a cast on her arm.
Walker said the girls are healing and their casts are scheduled to come off June 10, after which it is expected Brooklyn will have to learn to walk again.
She said they also are demonstrating fewer signs of fear and are sleeping better.
But Walker said her life has changed so radically in the past few weeks she’s not sure where she and her children will go from here.
“We have to start from scratch all over again,” she said.
Walker lives in an undisclosed location. She said that she lost most of her possessions, which were not recovered from the mobile home before the family’s contract with the landlord was terminated.
She has not yet worked out long-term living arrangements, but she said she is determined to remain upbeat and positive for her children.
“I’ve gone through a lot of crap in my life,” she said. “They don’t need someone down in the dumps. They need somebody smiling. My motto is, put your head on straight with a smile and one foot in front of the other, and keep going.”