LEWISTON — When a strange man lifted a 7-year-old girl from her bed as she slept, she awoke, realized it wasn’t her father, then told the man to put her down, elbowing him at first, then screaming.

Kevin Nowell

Kevin Nowell Lewiston Police Department

She ran into her father’s bedroom to report the incident. Her father then checked the living room, where the intruder had left the girl, apparently scared off by her screaming. Her father found no one in the living room, then called police about 4 a.m. on Nov. 19.

Surveillance video from a doorbell camera in a neighboring apartment of the Wood Street home captured the suspect’s image, including his red shoes, that police used in their search for the man, Detective Joseph Philippon wrote in an affidavit.

On Friday night, police arrested Kevin Dontae Nowell, 38, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, on an arrest warrant from earlier that afternoon. He is charged with burglary, attempted kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. All three charges are Class B felonies, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He also was charged with aggravated criminal trespass, a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The girl’s family was shown the video, but no one in the family recognized the man, “or knew anyone who owns red shoes,” Philippon wrote.

The girl said the strange man touched her arm, breasts and vagina. She was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center for an examination and the completion of a sexual assault evidence kit.

The suspect had apparently unscrewed two of the four ceiling light bulbs, which police checked for DNA by swabbing them.

The girl’s father told police that the lights left on in the children’s bedroom had been turned off and the light in the front hallway had been turned on. The girl had been sleeping in the bottom bunk in a room with her three siblings.

The girl’s mother told police she returned home from work about 11 p.m. and the door lock doesn’t always latch properly. The father said he found the door unlocked after the incident.

The girl told police that the man, whose face was covered by a scarf, had touched and sniffed her. She told him to stop and pushed him. He shushed her, then picked her up and carried her to the living room, Philippon wrote.

She told the man “something like, ‘I need to get something,’ and she was able to get out of the suspect’s grasp,” Philippon wrote. She then ran into her parents’ bedroom and told them there was someone in the house.

Police said the intruder may have gained entry by climbing through an unsecured window in the front of the home, possibly using outdoor natural gas pipes to assist him.

The doorbell surveillance showed the suspect peering through a window three different times and trying the front door unsuccessfully before later leaving the building.

Police canvassed the area and discovered high-quality street surveillance footage of a man in matching clothes at around the time of the incident.

Police later reviewed surveillance video from a 7-Eleven store where the suspect, wearing above-the-ankle red Nike sneakers used a debit card to pay for a beer earlier that morning on Nov. 19. The card revealed it was Nowell, according to the affidavit.

After his arrest, Nowell was taken to Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn where he was held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

“We are relieved the investigation has successfully culminated with the arrest of Nowell,” Lt. St. Pierre wrote. The suspect is not known by the victim or the victim’s family, St. Pierre stressed.

“We would like to thank our community and business members for their assistance as well as the help we have received from the FBI as well as from Lewiston’s (IT Department) and Public Works Divisions,” he wrote.

At his initial appearance in 8th District Court on Tuesday, a judge set Nowell’s bail at $50,000 cash or $5,000 with a supervised release contract. Prosecutors had argued for $100,00 cash bail.

If released, he is barred from having alcohol and can be searched and tested at random; he also is prohibited from having any dangerous weapons. He may not go to the home of the victim on Wood Street and may not have contact with anyone younger than 16.

He’s confined to an apartment in Lewiston and can only leave for work and medical or court-related appointments.

Police are asking that anyone who may have useful information in the case to contact Detective Joseph Philippon at 207-513-3001, ext. 3320 or Detective Joey Brown at ext. 3322.

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