MADISON — In the wake of a juvenile being charged with second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Melissa Moulton Hatch, the state is being extra-cautious not to release identifying details about the juvenile suspect.
The Madison woman’s family also is trying to raise money to help provide for the care of her disabled daughter.
Last Friday, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office and Madison Police Chief Ted Colby announced a suspicious death in Madison. On Saturday morning, authorities released more details.
Officers had responded to a 911 call on Feb. 15 at around 6:40 p.m. at 15 Burgdorf Drive in the Eidelweiss section of Madison. Upon arrival, they found Hatch dead. They said a juvenile had been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jennie V. Duval on Sunday determined the manner of death was homicide. The cause of Moulton’s death was “multiple sharp injuries, including deep incised wounds of the neck.”
“Investigators have been working around the clock since this event occurred Friday evening,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati in an email to the Sun on Saturday. “They still would like the public to come forward if they saw or heard anything the evening of February the 15th in the area previously identified.”
Anyone who has information about the circumstances surrounding Moulton’s death should call Sgt. Marc Beaudoin of the New Hampshire State Police at (603) 223-8678.
Meanwhile, the family is grieving. Stepsister Elizabeth Lane, 24, of Fryeburg, Maine, while thanking people for their prayers and condolences also asked for privacy.
The family said Hatch went by her maiden name of Moulton. Her mother is Dee Palmer of Conway.
Lane said Moulton had been working at Taco Bell in North Conway and previously worked at the Community Market and Deli in Madison.
“She always had a smile and contagious laugh ... she made anyone and everyone feel at ease,” said Lane. “She was an amazing mother to her two children, especially Julia, who was a special needs child.”
Julia, who is 15, “is mostly blind, autistic, mostly nonverbal, with motor skill problems; she requires constant care and aides,” Lane said.
Another of Moulton’s stepsisters, Hayley Douglass of Conway, has set up a GoFundMe account called “Missy’s Funeral/Care for her special needs child.”
“Missy was a loving mother, daughter, sister and friend to all she met,” said Douglass. “She leaves behind her children, one of which has severe disabilities.
“To meet Julia’s needs in these upcoming months and years as we follow a path without her mother, any donations made that do not go to funeral costs will be put in a fund so Julia can live as comfortably as possible,” she said.
There is also a GoFundMe page for River, Moulton’s dog, a long-haired Chihuahua, who was injured in the attack on Moulton. That account is called “Road to Health For River.”
“We are asking for donations for the costs of her medical bills which are estimated at around $3,000,” the page says.
Asked about a court date for the juvenile suspect, Agati said there would be a hearing this week but that he could not give a date or time because it was a juvenile proceeding. “Delinquent juvenile” laws are specified in RSA 169-B.
“The juvenile’s placement is determined by the family court,” said Agati when asked about the possibility of bail and whether the AG’s office would give any updates when the case is over. “The parties are not permitted to comment on the decision to the public. The law also addresses that we don’t publicize the results of any adjudication.”
Agati was also asked about the weapon.
“I cannot provide more information other than the previously reported cause and manner of death,” Agati said.
RSA 169-B:24 states that if a minor is accused of a felony-level crime, his or her case may be sent to the Superior Court. When the suspect is at least 15 and accused of a violent crime such as second-degree murder, “there shall be a presumption that the factors listed in RSA 169-B:24, support the transfer to the Superior Court.”
Those factors include the nature of the complaint, the merit of the complaint, the minor’s prior record and the “sophistication and maturity of the minor.”
Under 169-B:36, it appears that after the “adjudicating hearing,” the district court clerk may release such details as the name of the juvenile charged, the offense, the custody status and the disposition of orders by the court.
But RSA-B:38 says media members who disclose identifying information about a juvenile who has been arrested or make any of a juvenile proceeding public could be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Disclosure of confidential juvenile records by any person is also a misdemeanor.