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Couple Drowned Newborn Daughter After Home Birth So Cops Wouldn’t Know She Had Meth Exposure, Police Say

Fort Dodge, IA – Police said an Iowa couple is claiming they murdered their newborn daughter because they were afraid her cries would draw the attention of law enforcement and that they would discover the infant had methamphetamine in her body due to the mother’s drug use.

The infant’s remains have not been found.

Taylor Blaha, 24, and Brandon Thoma, 31, also have a two-year-old child together, WLS reported.

The investigation into the couple began on Nov. 22, when Blaha showed up at a hospital in Fort Dodge saying that she had given birth at her department several days prior, according to court records.

Webster County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Detective Amy Stringer said Blaha later told her that she had given birth in the bathroom of her apartment on Nov. 16 and that Thoma gave her methamphetamine to help dull her labor pains, WLS reported.

Blaha, who discovered she was pregnant in April, allegedly told Det. Stringer that her daughter was born alive, flailing her arms and legs and crying, according to court documents.

Blaha allegedly noted that the child opened her eyes and looked at her, and that the baby’s eyes were brown, according to the Daily Beast.

Blaha said she and Thoma decided to name the newborn Kayleen Lee, police said.

They also noted that they were planning to have her sister adopt the child, WLS reported.

They both allegedly told Det. Stringer that after the baby was born, Thoma used a pair of household scissors to cut the umbilical cord.

But when the baby began crying, the couple grew concerned that their neighbors would hear her and alert the police, according to court records.

According to investigators, Thoma and Blaha ultimately drowned the baby girl in their bathtub, WLS reported.

“…The two placed Kayleen in the bathtub, which was about half full of water, and placed both of their hands on the baby’s chest, forcing her underwater, ultimately killing her,” the arrest affidavit read, according to the Daily Beast.

Thoma allegedly placed the newborn baby’s body into a plastic storage container after she was dead, then wrapped the container in garbage bags and stuffed it into a backpack, WLS reported.

Text messages between Thoma and Blaha indicated Thoma took Kayleen’s body to a wooded area and buried it, according to court documents.

He later took police to the location where he said he buried his daughter, but nothing was found, WLS reported.

Police conducted a massive search of the area and excavated extensively, but the baby’s remains have not been recovered.

They also searched a local landfill without success, WLS reported.

Investigators searched the couple’s apartment and found a piece of placental remains or umbilical cord inside a dresser drawer, according to court documents.

Thoma and Blaha allegedly confirmed that Thoma used the household scissors to cut off portions of the umbilical cord as a memento to remember Kayleen by, police said.

Det. Stringer said Thoma confessed to drowning his daughter, and said he and Blaha were afraid police would take their two-year-old child away from them if they discovered methamphetamine in Kayleen’s body, WLS reported.

Police said they searched Blaha and Thoma’s electronic devices and cell phones and discovered several searches about how to trigger a miscarriage, according to court documents.

Blaha allegedly told Det. Stringer that they tried to cause a miscarriage, but that it didn’t work, WLS reported.

Thoma and Blaha have both been arrested for first-degree murder in the presumed death of their daughter.

Thoma has also been charged with abusing a corpse.

They are both being held on $1 million bond apiece.

Thoma and Blaha are scheduled to appear for preliminary hearings on Dec. 15, WLS reported.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI have been aiding in the investigation, according to KCCI.

Fort Dodge Police Captain Dennis Quinn told the news outlet on Thursday that the officers working on the case haven’t gotten a good night’s rest in weeks because of their dedication to finding the child’s remains.

“It is important for us to do everything we can to try to locate the infant,” Capt. Quinn said.

A $1,500 reward is being offered for any information leading to the recovery of the infant’s body, KCCI reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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