AUGUSTA — Two parents pleaded not guilty to child endangerment charges Monday in separate cases heard at the Capital Judicial Center.

One is Christopher Norwood, 32, of Augusta, whose 2-year-old son nearly drowned in the Kennebec River Sept. 16. The child was pulled from the river by a passer-by.

The other defendant is Karen Lea, 41, of Augusta, the mother of a 3-year-old girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert on Oct. 4.

Lenore Wilson was reported missing following a medical call for a suspected overdose. She was brought to the Augusta Police station later that day.

Both charges are misdemeanors and carry maximum penalties of 364 days in jail.

Judge Tom Nale set personal recognizance bail for each with conditions that prohibit them from contact with children under age 10.


Both defendants are scheduled for their next court hearings March 14, 2017.

After Augusta police investigated the near drowning at the East Side Boat Landing, they charged Norwood Sept. 27.

Deputy Chief Jared Mills said Norwood was “at a location far enough away that he could not provide the proper care to ensure the safety of a 2-year-old child.” Mills also said the boy was doing well, and that the state Department of Health & Human Services was involved in the investigation and working to ensure the safety of the boy.

Lea was charged several days after the Oct. 4 incident, which began when Augusta Fire and Rescue personnel were called to a Sewall Street apartment.

The child then disappeared. Police said she was believed to be with Fatima Gissentaner, 26, and her boyfriend, “Dollar.” The Amber Alert was issued after Gissentaner failed to drop the child off with police when requested. Lenore was dropped off that evening at the Augusta police station by a person who was acquainted with Gissentaner.

Mills in early October said the girl was doing well and that the state Department of Health & Human Services would decide where the girl would stay.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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