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Rebecca Thomas

One-way ticket to hell? California couple charged with strangling tot-boy dead

by Leigh Egan

Cigarette burns were found on the toddler’s foot

A Citrus Heights, California, “mom” and her boyfriend were charged with murder and child endangerment after her 2-year-old toddler was found strangled to death.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Rebecca Thomas, 34, and her boyfriend, Taylor Montgomery-Gutzman, 23, are accused strangling Kash Thomas, 22 months, to death. Kash was Rebecca’s son.

On October 13, 2016, paramedics arrived at the suspects’ Citrus Heights home off of Auburn Boulevard, to find Kash bleeding from his mouth, with numerous bruises along the side of his face, and burn spot on his foot. Paramedics attempted CPR on the boy, but he didn’t respond. He later died at a local hospital.

According to the Sacramento County Child Protective Services (CCPS),  Kash and his twin brother were never cared for properly. The were born prematurely and required special feeding tubes to eat. According to CCPS records, Thomas didn’t follow the doctor’s instructions, and instead, fed the babies formula through a bottle. The twins were born with a narrow esophagus, breathing difficulties. Thomas’ negligence caused one of the twins to have breathing problems so severe that he was hospitalized.

All of Thomas’ children, including the twins and two other kids, were placed in protective custody after the hospital incident. Thomas was required to learn more about gastrostomy tubes to feed the twins. She was also required to attend counseling sessions and parenting classes before regaining custody her children. After successfully passing the classes, her children came home in May 2016. Five months later, Kash died while in Thomas’ care.

Prosecutors claim that Thomas and Taylor Montgomery-Gutzman assaulted the toddler severely before strangling him. Thomas denied the allegations and said she was innocent, but refused to discuss any details surrounding Kash’s death.

“I will say that I am not guilty on these charges. I love my children.”

Scott Plots, 21, who dated Thomas briefly, told authorities that he was the twins’ father. He met Thomas when he was visiting his father in California. He went back to home town in Iowa before the twins were born. He said that Thomas would periodically send him photos of the boys. He’s now fighting for custody of the surviving twin.

If convicted, both Thomas and Montgomery-Gutzman face life in prison.

[Feature Photo: Citrus Heights Police Department]

Leigh Egan is a crime-fighting journalist and editor who specializes in breaking news and investigative true crime coverage. With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Leigh’s work can be found in a number of high-profile national publications. For Leigh, learning didn’t stop after college. She considers herself a lifelong learner who frequently takes media and journalism courses to keep abreast of the latest happenings and innovations in her field.