The Kayleigh Slusher Murder Case

     In 2014, three-year-old Kayleigh Slusher lived with her mother, Sara Krueger, 23, and Krueger’s 26-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner. The couple and the toddler resided in Unit 7 at the Royal Garden apartment complex in east Nap…

     In 2014, three-year-old Kayleigh Slusher lived with her mother, Sara Krueger, 23, and Krueger's 26-year-old boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner. The couple and the toddler resided in Unit 7 at the Royal Garden apartment complex in east Napa, California.

     Over the past five years, Warner had been in and out of bay area jails for a variety of crimes including assault and possession of drugs. When his former girlfriend, Ashley Owens, refused to abort their child, Warner had sent her a series of threatening text messages that read: "I hope the kid dies," "I will scalp you," and "I will bust out your teeth with a pipe." Warner was obviously a violent man who didn't like children, or women.

     Since June 2012, Napa police officers had been called to the Krueger apartment more than a dozen times on reports of domestic disturbance, theft, vandalism, and unwanted persons. By any standard, Unit 7 at the Royal Garden complex was a dangerous place to raise a child. And a lot of relatives and neighbors knew this. The only people who seemed oblivious to the situation were the police and the child welfare authorities. Unfortunately, these were the only people with the power to protect Kayleigh Slusher.

     On January 27, 2014, a neighbor called the Napa police and requested a welfare check at Unit 7. According to the caller, Krueger and her boyfriend were using drugs and not feeding the little girl. They were also making a commotion and fighting with each other. Police officers visited the apartment that day and didn't find drugs or evidence of narcotics use. The officers also observed Kayleigh who seemed okay. The officers did not notify child protective services. They left things as they found them.

     A Krueger relative, worried about the little girl, called the authorities two days later. On January 29, police officers returned to the apartment, examined the girl, and left. This would be the last day of Kayleigh's short life.

     At 11:50 AM on Saturday, February 1, 2014, a police dispatcher in the bay area city of Richmond received an anonymous call from a man who had "something to get off his chest" about Sara Kreuger and her boyfriend. According to the tipster, the boyfriend, a guy named Brian or Ryan, had done something bad to Krueger's daughter.

     That day, two police officers arrived at Unit 7, knocked on the door, and didn't get a response. A neighbor informed the officers that the day before, January 31, 2014, a man and woman, presumably the occupants of the unit, left the apartment. The little girl was not with them. Using a key they had acquired from the apartment complex manager, the officers entered the dwelling.

     In one of the bedrooms the officers found Kayleigh in bed covered in blankets up to her neck. Next to her body lay a doll. She was dead, and cold to the touch. She also had bruises around her eyes and blood in her nostrils. (A forensic pathologist would determine the cause of death to be "multiple blunt impact injuries to the head, torso, and extremities." The pathologist also found evidence of prior child abuse and neglect. Manner of death: Homicide.)

     The following day, February 2, police arrested Krueger and Warner at a BART station in El Cerrito, California. According to the murdered girl's mother, she found Kayleigh dead when she returned to the apartment on the afternoon of January 30, 2014. Krueger said she placed the body into a plastic bag and stored it for awhile in a freezer before tucking the little corpse into the bed.

     Sara Krueger and Ryan Warner were booked into the Napa County Jail on charges of murder and felony assault of a child causing death. If convicted as charged, they faced up to 25 years to life in prison.

     On February 25, 2014, at the murder suspects' arraignment before Napa Superior Court Judge Mark Boessenecker, the couple pleaded not guilty. The judge denied both suspects bail.

     In June 2015, the dead child's father, grandmother and grandfather filed a lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court against the Napa Police Department and Napa County Child Welfare Services for failing to investigate reports of child abuse.

     In May 2017, separate juries found Ryan Warner and Sara Krueger guilty of first-degree murder. Napa County Judge Francisca P. Tisher, in July 2017, sentenced both defendants to life without parole.

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/