Search for Baby Kayleen Continues After Parents Admit to Drowning Her in Bathtub

Authorities continue searching for an Iowa newborn who was allegedly drowned by her parents and then discarded in garbage bags, the Des Moines Register reports.

On Wednesday, police arrested the child’s mother and father, 24-year-old Taylor K. Blaha and 31-year-old Brandon D. Thoma, who are in jail on $1 million bail each. Multiple agencies are working to find the child’s remains, according to Capt. Dennis Quinn of the Fort Dodge Police Department.

“We have not located the newborn, but that does not mean we won’t continue to keep trying to,” Quinn told the Register.

Investigators allege that Blaha gave birth to the baby, named Kayleen Lee, on November 16 at the couple’s apartment in Fort Dodge, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

At the time of delivery, the child was crying, had opened her eyes, and was moving her arms and legs, according to the Associated Press.

But the couple reportedly did not want the baby and were concerned that neighbors would call the police and discover methamphetamine in the apartment, which the couple feared would cause them to lose custody of their 2-year-old son.

Blaha had allegedly taken methamphetamine around the time of the delivery in an effort to ease birthing pains, according to the newspaper. So Blaha and Thoma allegedly put Kayleen in a bathtub and pushed her down to force her body under the water.

Taylor Blaha (l) and Brandon Thoma/Webster County Sheriff’s Office

They then put the newborn’s body in black garbage bags and hid her in a backpack as they left the apartment to discard the body.

On November 22, dispatchers received a 911 call from a social worker reporting that a woman had given birth to a child who later died and that the child’s body had been discarded and moved. The social worker had met with Blaha at a medical center, but it is unclear why.

Investigators found text messages showing Blaha and Thoma dumped the child’s body in a wooded area, and authorities would later learn that the couple searched online for how to induce a miscarriage.

On December 5, Thoma told investigators that he would bring them to an area where he discarded Kayleen’s body near a landfill. However, police have yet to locate the remains.

A search of the apartment on Wednesday turned up an umbilical cord and remains of a placenta on a dresser, WHO-TV reports, citing court records.

Blaha and Thoma are each charged with murder, while Thoma also has been charged with abuse of a corpse.

A $1,500 reward is being offered for the location of the child’s body. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for December 15.

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[Featured image: Pixabay]