Parents drown baby moments after birth

In Iowa, a 31-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman are being held for allegedly drowning their newborn in a bathtub moments after birth.

According to authorities, Brandon D. Thoma and Taylor K. Blaha were arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kayleen Lee Blaha.

On Nov. 22, Blaha met with an employee from the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) at Unity Point Trinity Regional Medical Center, according to a sworn affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime. It is alleged that Blaha “gave birth to a baby at her residence, which was buried in an undisclosed location.”

A Webster County Sheriff’s Office detective responded to the scene after an IDHS employee contacted the law enforcement center.

Blaha told the detective she discovered she was pregnant with Thoma’s child in April 2022 during an interview. They already have a 2-year-old son together.

According to her, she gave birth to a girl on Nov. 16 in the bathroom of their apartment in the 900 block of Central Avenue in Fort Dodge.

“She stated that Thoma was in the bedroom of the apartment when she gave birth but that once the baby was born, he came into the bathroom and helped her get from where she was sitting on the toilet to a position sitting inside the bathtub with the baby,” says the affidavit. “She advises the two named the baby Kayleen Lee Blaha and that she was born alive, crying, moving its arms and legs, and opening her eyes allowing Blaha to see that Kayleen had brown eyes.”

Blaha allegedly asked Thoma for methamphetamine to ease her pain after giving birth, and he supplied it. As she told the detective, they had no intention of keeping the child and were planning to let Blaha’s sister adopt her. Using scissors, Thoma severed the umbilical cord and cut sections of it to remember the baby.

Blaha allegedly said that she and Thoma quickly became concerned their neighbors would hear Kayleen crying and alert law enforcement. The couple feared losing custody of their 2-year-old son if law enforcement found methamphetamine in the baby’s system.

“Blaha went on to explain that in order to stop the crying the two placed Kayleen in the bathtub, which was about half full of water, and placed both of their hands on the baby’s chest, forcing her underwater, ultimately killing her,” states the affidavit. “Blaha also explained that Thoma demonstrated to her how to do this. Blaha advised that once the baby was held under water, Thoma removed the baby from the bathtub and sat her outside of the tub before ultimately placing her in a plastic storage container, wrapping her in multiple layers of trash bags, and then placing her inside of a black backpack that he carried her out of the apartment in.”

Investigators executed a search warrant on Thoma’s apartment and found what appeared to be a piece of umbilical cord he kept as a keepsake, but Kayleen’s body was never found.

A reward of $1,500 has been offered for information leading to the recovery of the child’s remains.

Currently, both parents are being held in pretrial detention. Blaha’s bond was set at $1 million, while Thoma’s was set at $1 million.