Two parents have been arrested for allegedly drowning their newborn in a bathtub because they feared authorities would find meth in her blood and remove custody of their older child.
Brandon Thoma, 31, and Taylor Blaha, 24, were charged with first-degree murder in the death of their infant daughter, the Fort Dodge Police Department said on Wednesday. The couple also has a two-year-old son.
An affidavit obtained by NBC affiliate WHO13 reveals that Ms Blaha gave birth to a baby girl on 16 November in the bathroom of her home in the 900 block of Central Avenue. She reportedly asked Mr Thoma, who was in the bedroom, for methamphetamines to ease her pain after birthing the baby, who they named Kayleen Lee Blaha.
The baby was born alive, “crying, moving its arms and legs, and opening her eyes allowing Blaha to see that Kayleen had brown eyes.” Ms Blaha told law enforcement that she planned to give the baby to her sister but became concerned that the neighbours would hear the cries and call law enforcement.
According to the affidavit, the couple put the baby in the bathtub half full of water and placed “both of their hands on the baby’s chest, forcing her underwater, ultimately killing her.” Mr Thoma then allegedly wrapped Kayleen in multiple trash bags and put her inside a plastic storage container before disposing of her body.
Ms Blaha told law enforcement that she feared neighbours could get authorities involved because she didn’t want to lose custody of her son if it emerged Kayleen had methamphetamine in her system.
Investigators also found searches on the suspects’ devices on how to induce miscarriages.
“During her interview, Blaha confirmed with Detective Stringer that she and Thoma took actions towards an attempt to cause a miscarriage; however, did so unsuccessfully,” the affidavit reads.
“Communication between Blaha and Thoma, as viewed through their cellular devices, confirms conversations about where Thoma claims to have discarded Kayleen’s body.”
Mr Thomas first told officers that he had buried Kayleen’s body in a wooded area near the Kenyon Road Bridge, before leading law enforcement to a rural area north of the North Central Iowa Regional Landfill.
Both searches were unsuccessful.
Mr Thomas, who faces an additional charge of abuse of a corpse, and Ms Blaha are both being held in the Webster County Jail. Their bonds were set at $1m.