About 60 people gathered in Cascade Park in Bangor Monday to remember 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy, who died of injuries she allegedly suffered at the hands of her parents.

This story has touched all of us, and has many asking how it could have happened. I've worked in news for many years now, and I've learned to harden my heart to some pretty awful stories. But this one is haunting me. I just can't imagine how it's possible for Marissa to have suffered the way she did, and nothing was ever done.

Neighbors say they heard screaming coming from the apartment in Bangor and called police to report it. One person even said they saw the father strike his tiny daughter in the face because she'd dropped something. Bangor Police have confirmed that they were called to the Carrillo residence several times, when the family lived here, but officers never saw any evidence of abuse. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to comment at all.

It's too late for Marissa. But vigils like this one will help the rest of us heal our hearts as we grieve the horrific loss of a girl who allegedly suffered atrocities at the hands of the very people who should have been protecting her. And maybe coming together as a community will send a message that our child protection services need to be examined and improved. We have to do better so no more children's lives are cut short.

In the meantime, we'll cry, hold each other, and hope that Marissa Kennedy is finally at peace.

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