A mother and her boyfriend have been sentenced to life for killing her three-year-old daughter after months of abuse.
The Napa Valley Register is reporting that Sarah Lynn Krueger and her boyfriend Ryan Scott Warner were sentenced after being found guilty of first degree murder and assault of a child resulting in death. The couple was convicted for the horrific death of Kayleigh Slusher who died from multiple blunt force injuries in 2014. The little girl was stuffed in a freezer after she was killed.
Neighbors revealed they noticed a dramatic change in Kayleigh in the weeks leading to her heartrending death. They said she looked malnourished and was carrying bruises. The little girl’s maternal grandmother claimed that she allayed her fears over the little girl to the relevant authorities, but the girl was not removed from the home. She alleged nothing was done despite the fact that her daughter, Sarah had been investigated by child protective services before.
A friend of the couple, concerned about little Kayleigh’s welfare had visited their California home and made the grisly discovery. According to court documents, the friend told Sarah and Ryan to call the police and when they refused, he called 911. The couple fled the scene before police arrived but were arrested the following day when a woman spotted them outside a restaurant. Police looking into Sarah’s phone allegedly found web searches for the most populous cities in America.
Police found Kayleigh’s body in a suitcase on her bed, partially frozen. Napa Valley Deputy District Attorney Kecia Lind speaking to People confirmed that Kayleigh’s body was extremely cold when officers found her.
“She was there for at least a number of hours. Her body was still extremely cold to the touch when the officers found her. We don’t know for sure how long she was in the freezer.”
An autopsy revealed that the three-year-old girl had 41 distinct injuries on her body. The fatal one had ruptured her small intestine. The district attorney revealed that Kayleigh did not die a quick death and was subjected to a considerable amount of pain and suffering by her 27-year old mother and 29-year-old boyfriend.
“She had severe injuries and bruising to her head. Essentially just over her body, arms, legs, torso, and buttocks…It was tough. The medical examiner described the amount of pain and suffering she would have been in during the time she was dying. It wasn’t a quick death.”
The California couple alleged that Kayleigh accidentally drank something poisonous but failed to give a credible explanation for the multiple bruises and injuries on her body. Sarah Krueger changed her statement during the trial. In a letter, read out by her lawyer, she revealed that if she had a time machine, she would never have allowed her ex-boyfriend into her life. She said she had no idea that he was hurting her daughter.
An unemotional Warner in his own statement said Kayleigh’s death was a “tragedy” and he was “completely heartbroken over it.” However, he also pointed an accusing finger at his former girlfriend saying, “I did not cause any harm to this child.” He prayed that the Kruger family and Kayleigh’s father find closure and purge any feelings of hatred towards him and Sara.
Kayleigh’s father who was in prison when his daughter was killed revealed that Sarah committed the cardinal sin of not protecting their daughter, like a normal mother would.
Kruger and Warner’s life sentences are without the possibility of parole.
[Featured Image by Napa Police Department]