STOCKTON SPRINGS — Hundreds of people descended on the village center Sunday night for a candlelight vigil in memory of Marissa Kennedy, the 10-year-old Stockton Springs girl who was found dead a week ago, allegedly as the result of beatings from her mother and stepfather.

Mourners gathered behind the town office, where organizers had set up a tent for speakers and musicians. In the lower level of the building, tables bore trifold displays with of photos of Marissa at different ages.

Marissa Kennedy Photo courtesy of Maine Attorney General’s Office

Several hundred people attended the event, the second of three vigils for the girl. An event was held in Belfast Saturday night, and a third vigil is scheduled to be held Monday in Bangor, where Marissa lived before her parents moved their family to Stockton Springs, in Waldo County, last fall.

At the vigil in downtown Belfast, dozens of people – some from as far away as Kittery – called for justice following the death of Marissa, the Associated Press reported.

Many criticized child welfare officials for failing to protect her, according to WLBZ-TV.

Organizer Nancy Barlow said “that little girl slipped through the cracks.” Another organizer, Patti Beeton, said, “She was failed.”

Marissa’s parents – her stepfather, Julio Carrillo, 51, and her mother, Sharon Carrillo, 33 – have been charged with depraved indifference murder in her death.

The Carrillos were arrested on Feb. 26, one day after first responders were called to their home in Stockton Springs and discovered that Marissa was dead. The scene had been staged to look like she died in an accident, according to Maine State Police.

Investigators said in a state police affidavit that Marissa’s parents sometimes locked her in a darkened closet for extended periods and had beaten and abused their daughter for months. Police said the Carrillos would punish the girl by forcing her to kneel on a tile floor and hold her hands above her head while they whipped her between 10 and 15 times with a leather belt or hit her with their hands.

The beatings continued from October until about late February, when Marissa could no longer walk or speak without slurring her words.

The Carrillos made their first court appearance Wednesday in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast, where bail was set at $500,000 cash each.

In court, Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber described Marissa’s slaying as one of the most serious cases of depraved indifference murder he has ever encountered.

“What she was subjected to can only be described as torture,” Macomber told Justice Robert Murray. “Multiple times a day, every day for months.”

Bangor’s superintendent of schools issued a statement last week that said teachers and staff at the school Marissa attended there before her family moved to Stockton Strings spotted signs of abuse and reported it to the Department of Health and Human Services. Gov. Paul LePage’s office announced Friday that an independent panel will review the case and that DHHS is conducting an internal investigation to determine if staff followed protocol.

The candlelight vigil in Bangor will be held at 5 p.m. Monday at Cascade Park.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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