Police: Couple drowned infant, disposed body to hide drug use

FORT DODGE, Iowa — A couple has been charged with first-degree murder after investigators said they drowned their infant in the bathtub before hiding her body.

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Brandon Thoma and Taylor Blaha were charged Wednesday with murdering their infant, though investigators have been unable to find the child’s body despite weeks of searching, The Associated Press reported.

In an arrest affidavit obtained by WHO-TV, Fort Dodge police received a call on Nov. 22 from an employee at the Iowa Department of Human Services, who said that Blaha admitted to giving birth to a baby at her home and burying the body.

In an interview with a detective with the Webster County Sheriff’s Office, Blaha allegedly said her baby was born alive, was moving her arms and legs and opening her eyes, the AP reported. Thoma and Blaha had allegedly agreed to name the infant Kayleen Lee.

Blaha told investigators that she gave birth in the bathroom, while Thoma was in the other room, WHO-TV reported. According to the affidavit, Thoma went into the bathroom after the baby was born and gave Blaha methamphetamine to help with the pain of birth, at her request.

The couple told investigators that they had planned to get Blaha’s sister to adopt the baby, but became concerned that the baby’s crying would draw the attention of neighbors and police, the AP reported.

In the arrest affidavit obtained by the AP, Blaha and Thoma allegedly admitted to police that they held the infant underwater in the bathtub until she drowned, before placing the child’s body in a plastic storage container, wrapping the container in trash bags, and carrying it out in a backpack.

“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,” investigators wrote in the affidavit obtained by the AP.

In charging documents, investigators stated that Thoma had said he and Blaha were worried that their 2-year-old son would be taken away from them if the police learned the infant had methamphetamine in her system, WHO-TV reported.

Detectives searched several areas based on text messages and statements from the suspects, but have been unable to find the infant’s body, the AP reported.

The Fort Dodge Police Department announced the charges against the couple, saying that both Thoma and Blaha are charged with first-degree murder, and Thoma is additionally charged with abuse of a corpse. Both are being held on bonds of $1 million.

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