A 24-year-old woman has been handed a 50-year prison sentence after admitting to the second-degree murder of her newborn daughter, who she drowned in a bathtub shortly after giving birth.
Court records reveal that Taylor Blaha pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on August 18th. Originally charged with first-degree murder in November, she has been sentenced to five decades in prison, with the possibility of parole after 35 years, according to KCRG-TV.
Blaha’s boyfriend, Brandon Thoma, had previously pleaded guilty in July to charges of abuse of a corpse and child endangerment resulting in death.
On November 22nd, 2022, the Webster County Sheriff’s Office received a call from an official at the Iowa Department of Human Services who had encountered Blaha at a local hospital. Blaha admitted to giving birth at home and subsequently burying the child at an undisclosed location.
According to the criminal complaint, Blaha informed a Webster County detective that she had discovered her pregnancy in April 2022 and gave birth on November 16th. With Thoma waiting in the bedroom, Blaha delivered the child in the bathroom.
After the birth, Thoma assisted her in moving from the toilet to a seated position inside the bathtub with the baby. The child, named Kayleen Lee Blaha, was born alive, exhibiting signs of life such as crying, moving limbs, and opening her eyes, revealing brown eyes. Blaha requested meth from Thoma to alleviate the birth-related pain.
Blaha revealed to the detective that their initial intention was to allow her sister to adopt Kayleen. However, when the newborn began crying, Blaha feared that neighbors might hear.
In response, Thoma and Blaha placed the baby in a half-filled bathtub and held her underwater, ultimately causing her death. Subsequently, Thoma placed the deceased baby in a plastic container, wrapped it with trash bags, and concealed it within a black backpack.
This action, according to the criminal complaint, was driven by concerns that law enforcement would discover methamphetamine in the baby’s system, possibly leading to the removal of their 2-year-old child from their custody.
On November 17th, Thoma left the apartment with the backpack containing Kayleen’s body and later returned with the backpack emptied.
In December, Thoma informed law enforcement that he initially buried Kayleen near a bridge, but subsequent searches yielded no results. He then claimed to have disposed of the body near a landfill. Despite an extensive investigation involving a full excavation of the area, the baby’s body was not located.