SKOWHEGAN — If a state social worker had not visited a Chestnut Street home to check on Wayne Shaw’s mother Aug. 14, Shaw might have died from head wounds suffered in an attack the night before, police said Friday.

The worker from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services contacted police just after 4 p.m. that day after she heard something inside, according to Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais.

She went to the Police Department and reported it.

When police arrived they found Shaw, who also lives at the home, lying on the floor with life-threatening injuries.

Shaw had been there since about 9 p.m. the night before, Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said. The apparent motive for the attack was robbery, he said.

“Apparently this worker with DHHS was over there to visit with the mom, but instead found Mr. Shaw,” Blais said. “If she hadn’t have shown up, you know, it could have been curtains for him. The amount of head injuries that he had could have led to him losing a lot of blood if he stayed there any longer — that was a critical thing.”

Shaw’s mother, who has not been identified by police, was in a nursing home, but the social worker did not know that.

Blais said Shaw suffered blunt-force wounds to the head and other parts of the body in what clearly was an attack.

Skowhegan police cordoned off the property with yellow crime scene tape that afternoon as they waited for investigators from the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit, which typically investigates homicides, suspicious deaths and child abuse cases.

Shaw was taken by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan as LifeFlight was called to take him to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

A spokesman said Friday that Shaw remains at the hospital in fair condition.

Police initially said they thought that a family member had attacked Shaw.

“We thought that we had a suspect, but we do not have a clear suspect,” Blais said. “We have someone of interest who is a relative, but that’s all we’ve got right now. Robbery, I think, was the motive.”

That person has been interviewed by police but as of late Friday, no one had been charged in the attack.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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