Maine highest court Thursday upheld the conviction of a Calais man who suffocated his 4-week-old daughter in 1998 and concealed her body in a box.
During sentencing in September 1999, Judge Margaret Kravchuk told Thomas St. Yves, who was 37 at the time, that he was the most “unfit man on the face of the Earth to have any contact with children.”
St. Yves is serving a 20-year sentence for manslaughter and abuse of a corpse. His wife was sentenced to 11 months after a felony charge of hindering apprehension was reduced to a misdemeanor.
In his appeal, St. Yves claimed his daughter Faith’s body was discovered by the Calais Police Department while it was engaged in an illegal interrogation at his trailer.
Although Kravchuk said investigators should have notified St. Yves of his rights at his trailer, she ruled that in any event police would have found the child’s body stuffed into the shoe box. The high court agreed.
“Because the Calais police would certainly have searched the trailer, with a lawfully obtained warrant, immediately upon determining that Faith Ann’s presence with her grandparents could not be confirmed, they would have discovered her body in that search,” Justice Leigh Saufley wrote on behalf of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
In June 1999, a Sagadahoc County Superior Court jury deliberated 8 1/2 hours before finding St. Yves guilty of manslaughter and abuse of a corpse. The trial was moved to Sagadahoc County because of pretrial publicity in Washington County.
During the investigation at the trailer, police became suspicious about the whereabouts of the baby after St. Yves and his wife, Denise Caron, told conflicting stories.
St. Yves was accused of killing his daughter by wrapping her head in a blanket and shoving her face into a couch to stop her from crying. The medical examiner ruled that Faith St. Yves died from lack of oxygen to the brain.
The family was living in a small trailer on North Street Extension in Calais with two adult Rottweiler dogs and nine puppies. Police found dog feces throughout the trailer, as well as a box of dog feces stored in a freezer with no door.
When questioned, St. Yves told Maine State Police detectives that he had been unable to tolerate the baby’s crying.
The child’s mother testified that St. Yves took care of the infant and that she took care of an older child, Katrina.
Caron said she never rocked or bathed the baby or changed the child’s diaper from the time she brought Faith home from Calais Regional Hospital, where she was born Jan. 9, 1998.
When she entered the hospital, Denise Caron was admitted under a phony name. She made hospital officials suspicious when she refused to give them her Social Security number.
Prosecutors believe Faith was killed Feb. 6, 1998. Her body was discovered by authorities Feb. 26 after police obtained a warrant to arrest Caron, then known as Denise St. Yves, who was wanted in New Hampshire for theft and felony bail jumping. The couple had moved to Calais after living in several other locations in Washington County.