The apartment complex off U.S. Route 1 in Edgecomb, shown in December, where first responders were called Christmas Day and found Makinzlee Handrahan unresponsive. Staff photo by Rachel Ohm.

One month after a 3-year-old girl was killed Christmas morning in Edgecomb, police haven’t released a cause of death or filed criminal charges.

Makinzlee Handrahan was found unresponsive and not breathing at her home off U.S. Route 1 around 7:30 a.m. Police quickly ruled it a homicide.

“She was literally the perfect kid,” Amber Ambrose, a friend and neighbor, said on Wednesday as she talked about the young girl she often babysat.

Few details have been released in the month since Makinzlee’s death. Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that there are no updates in the case.

Attempts to get more information from Makinzlee’s immediate family were unsuccessful Wednesday. Her mother, Faith Lewis, declined to speak with a reporter about the case when contacted through a neighbor.

When a reporter called a phone number believed to belong to Makinzlee’s father, Henry Handrahan, a woman answered the phone and quickly hung up.


Meanwhile, residents in the apartment complex where Makinzlee lived with her mother have been left wondering what happened.


The shared playground in the center of the complex was empty Wednesday, still covered in snow from Monday’s storm. A doll house and children’s bikes also were buried in the snow outside Lewis’ apartment, where no one answered the door.

Tim Wagg, who lives in the complex, said he saw Makinzlee being carried out of the house Christmas morning and has been traumatized by her death. He said he was puzzled by what he described as a lack of emotion from Lewis.

“She wasn’t hysterical. … Where is the grief?” said Wagg, who said his niece is dating Henry Handrahan.

He’s heard many rumors about the case, but doesn’t know what happened.


“Everybody here, we’ve all been frustrated,” Wagg said.

Ambrose, who has three children, said babysitting the bright and funny 3-year-old was easy.

“The only issue I ever had with her was she was extremely attached to Faith, so when she tried to leave it was hell,” said Ambrose, 26. “It was a full-on meltdown.”

Ambrose said she and Lewis became friends a few years ago. The two would frequently let their children play together, sometimes sharing rides to school.

On Christmas Eve, Ambrose’s 8-year-old daughter was at Lewis’ apartment playing with Makinzlee and a few other kids. Nothing seemed unusual.

Ambrose said she was asleep Christmas morning when police came to Lewis’ apartment, and it wasn’t until later that day that Ambrose and her family learned that Makinzlee had died. She said she still doesn’t know how it happened.


Makinzlee’s death has been difficult for the kids she grew up around.

“We’ve done a lot of grief support for the kids in the complex, and the school here has been pretty amazing,” Ambrose said.


Ambrose described Lewis as a good mother who was easygoing, but strict about certain things, like making sure Makinzlee would take a nap. “She was a good mom,” she said.

She said Lewis’ boyfriend, Tyler Witham-Jordan, also treated Makinzlee well, though she wasn’t close to him.

But court records suggest there may have been problems in relationship between Lewis and Witham-Jordan. Two days after Makinzlee’s death, Lewis filed a request for a protection from abuse order in Wiscasset District Court in which she said Witham-Jordan is “verbally, mentally and physically abusive.”


She said in one case he “held me down to not let me up after screaming at me and trying to bite me,” and that he “pushed me to feel as I had to not have friends.”

James Howaniec, Witham-Jordan’s attorney, said there was no merit to the complaint and his client was not involved in Makinzlee’s death. He said they have received “almost no information whatsoever” about the case other than the limited information state police have released to the public.

“There is no evidence whatsoever he was involved in the death of this young girl,” Howaniec said. He said Witham-Jordan and Lewis are no longer dating.

Her request for a protection order was dismissed this month. The father of Makinzlee’s two half-brothers, Joseph Hersom, filed a separate protection order on their behalf against Lewis that remains in place.

Ambrose said she didn’t know what might have led Lewis to file her request. She guessed it might have been an effort to ensure she could still see her sons, despite the protection order filed by their father.

She has talked to Lewis “off and on” since the tragedy but doesn’t see her around the apartment complex much. “She’s pretty broken up, devastated,” Ambrose said. “She’s doing as OK as she can be.”

Ambrose said there’s been a lot of misinformation and rumors about the case, and she knows Lewis can’t say much because of the police investigation. When she does talk to Lewis, Ambrose said she mostly just asks how she’s doing.

“That seems like a stupid question, but I do it anyways because I don’t know what else to do,” she said.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: