Father arrested in 1979 Brunswick killing of child

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BRUNSWICK — Maine State Police arrested a 62-year-old former Brunswick man Friday in Farmington and charged him with the murder 38 years ago of his 4-month-old son.

Burton “Ben” Hagar was arrested at his Marvel Street home in Farmington, following his indictment on murder charges by a Cumberland County grand jury.

Hagar is being held at Franklin County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland on Wednesday, April 12, at 1 p.m.

According to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, police recently discovered new information regarding the death of Nathan Hagar, who died at Brunswick’s Parkview Hospital on May 9, 1979, after being found unresponsive at the Hagar’s School Street apartment.

At the time, police attributed the death to sudden infant death syndrome.

According to McCausland, detectives reopened in the case in 1991. Working with the state’s new Unsolved Homicide Unit, detectives unearthed new information nearly four decades after the infant’s death, which led to the attorney general’s office presenting the case to a grand jury.

The chief of the state police praised the new investigative unit with bringing charges in its first case.

“There are more than 100 Maine unsolved homicides and the new unit is reviewing each case,” Col. Robert Williams said. “The hard work of this dedicated group from state police and the attorney general’s office have brought this first unsolved homicide to this point, and there will be other success stories as their work continues.”

The new Unsolved Homicide Unit has been fully staffed since February of 2016. This also is the oldest unsolved homicide case state police have resolved. The oldest up until now was the arrest of a man in 2012 for an Augusta homicide that took place in 1976, 36 years earlier.

Burton “Ben” Hagar

Reporting on municipal, school, and community news in Brunswick and Harpswell. Bowdoin graduate, Wild Oats sandwich-eater. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100, or cferguson@theforecaster.net.