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Mom calls for justice for dead daughter

Sunday News Correspondent

December 17. 2016 8:33PM
Ashley Bourque, the mother of toddler Madison Dana who died Nov. 27, 2016, is comforted Saturday by a relative following a candlelight vigil in Berlin's Veterans Memorial Park. (John Koziol/Sunday News Correspondent)

BERLIN - Madison Dana's mother stood in the snow Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park and called for justice for her dead daughter.

The man charged with Madison's death, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, is her father, Roger Dana, 43, of Berlin. He faces a count of second-degree murder for allegedly physically assaulting Madison multiple times on Nov. 27, causing blunt-impact injuries that led to the death of the 2 1/2-year-old.

Roger Dana has an extensive criminal history, including a domestic assault against Ashley Bourque, Madison's mother.

On Saturday, Bourque said that on the day of her daughter's death she had just come home from work at the deli of a local supermarket to discover Madison unconscious on the floor of their apartment at 109 York St.

"That was definitely the worst mother's nightmare to come home and see your baby not responding," said Bourque, who earlier noted that she simply wanted "to know what happened," before adding that "whoever did it is going to pay one way or another."

Bourque thanked local businessman Bob Chapman for helping organize an effort to cover Madison's funeral expenses, stressing that "without him I would not have been able to put my baby to rest."

That baby, she recalled, was "always happy," curious, and was both loved and loving, said Bourque.

Madison, her mom said, was also occasionally a mischievous kid who "wanted to get her hands on something."

Now that Madison is gone, "We have to speak for her," said Bourque.

Organized by Lisa Sims and Rachel Pettis, two Berlin residents who were struck by Madison's death and wanted to remember her, the candlelight vigil drew about two dozen attendees, among them Kate Demers and William Barth who brought their 10-month old son, David.

The couple said it was important for them to be there to show support for Madison and to also let parents know that they need to be advocates for their children.

There are many resources available to parents, said Demers, and they should take advantage of them.

Sims said Madison's death was all of Berlin's loss and that the vigil was "the right thing to do" to honor and remember her.

Dana was arrested Dec. 2 and was arraigned three days later in Coos County District Court in Lancaster.

Represented by public defenders, Dana waived a probable-cause hearing that was scheduled for last Wednesday; his case was bound over to the Coos County Superior Court.

He is being held without bail at the Coos County jail pending his next court hearing.

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