Iowa Mother Murdered Newborn Girl Because She Worried Cops Would Learn She Took Meth to Deal With Pain of Home Delivery: Police

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Source: Webster County Jail

Aug. 24 2023, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

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A couple in Iowa killed their newborn baby girl because they were worried about police finding drugs in her system, and now the mother has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, officials said.

Brandon Thoma and Taylor Blaha initially were each charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of the child, Kayleen Lee, Our Quad Cities reported. Thoma faces an additional charge of abuse of a corpse.

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On Aug. 18, Blaha pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of her newborn baby. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison with a chance of parole after 35 years, KCRG reported.

According to court documents obtained by Our Quad Cities, Blaha gave birth to Kayleen Lee at the couple’s apartment in Fort Dodge on Nov. 16, 2022, and the parents allegedly drowned the baby in a bathtub a short time later.

The court documents allege Blaha and Thoma had planned to give the child to a relative to adopt, but killed the baby because they feared the girl’s crying would draw neighbors’ attention and they would phone police. The couple, the legal papers state, didn’t want authorities to take their 2-year-old son from their custody if they found out the newborn had methamphetamine in her system.

An arrest affidavit states Thoma allegedly gave Blaha the drug to deal with the pain of the home delivery, WLS-TV reported.

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“Thoma and Blaha have both confirmed ... that once Kayleen was born, Thoma cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors that was present within their apartment and shortly thereafter cut additional sections of the cord to be kept to remember the baby,” the affidavit states.

Thoma allegedly wrapped the baby in trash bags and put it in a black backpack. On Nov. 17, 2022, he reportedly left the apartment with the backpack and "returned later with an empty backpack," officials said.

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Thoma told police he buried Kayleen near a bridge, but she was not found after multiple searches. Then, he said he dumped her body near a landfill. Investigators conducted a "full excavation" of the area, but once again, did not find her body.

Police still have not found the baby’s body. An investigation and the search for the body remains ongoing, officials said.

Thoma took a plea deal that knocked the murder charge down to child endangerment resulting in death and abuse of a corpse, authorities said. He is set to be sentenced on Sept. 1.


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