A 31-year-old father was sentenced to up to 50 years in jail after he confessed to helping his girlfriend drown their newborn daughter in the tub to hide the fact the baby had meth in her system.
Brandon Thoma – of Fort Dodge, in the US State of Iowa – will serve 20 years before he has a chance for parole.
He was handed down a guilty verdict of child endangerment resulting in death and abuse of a corpse during a court hearing on 1st September.
Thoma reportedly instructed girlfriend Taylor Blaha, 24, to drown their newborn in the bathroom back on 16th November, 2022, and cut a piece of her umbilical cord to “remember the baby”.
The twisted couple killed the infant – who they claimed they did not want – so neighbours would not hear her crying and alert authorities, who would then find out she had meth in her system.
Thoma and Blaha apparently decided to dispose of the baby, whom they named Kayleen, fearing that child protective service might take away their two-year-old son.
They then stuffed the child’s body in a backpack and dumped her in the woods.
Police were alerted six days later after Blaha got admitted to a hospital where doctors realised she had recently given birth.
She was arrested and admitted to disposing of the baby, whom she claimed she originally planned to give up for adoption.
Web searches for how to induce miscarriage were later presented in court, proving the couple had no intention of raising the child.
Police searched for the baby but so far no remains have been found.
Blaha was initially charged with first-degree murder but later accepted a guilty plea of second-degree murder.
Kevin Blaha and Nancy Blaha, Taylor’s parents and the little girl’s grandparents, gave victim impact statements during Thoma’s sentencing.
Kevin Blaha recalled the moment his daughter smiled at him right after she was sentenced to up to 50 years in jail.
She will have to serve a minimum of 35 years in prison.
He told the court: “I asked her ‘Why are you smiling? You were just convicted, you were just given 50 years.
“She said to me, ‘I’ll be in prison, dad, and he can’t hurt me.
“Don’t worry, he won’t be able to beat me. He won’t be able to kick me. As long as he’s in prison, he can’t hurt my son anymore either’.”
Kevin Blaha believed Thoma manipulated his daughter into things she did not want to do, including using meth.
He added: “There’s no doubt in my mind, he was the mastermind.
“He was just the one that concocted what to do. He convinced her this is what has to be done. And knowing him, I know that’s what happened.”
Her mother said: “You are responsible for my daughter’s demise. She is paying the ultimate price for your actions.”
Blaha’s parents said they were able to reach some kind of closure with the sentencing, despite their daughter having the spend the next few decades in prison.