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Mother, Boyfriend Plead 'Not Guilty' to Murder of 3-Year-Old

Both are being held without bail at the Napa County Detention Center and will be back in court on April 2.

Ryan Scott Warner Photo provided by Bay City News
Ryan Scott Warner Photo provided by Bay City News
By Bay City News Service—

Sara Lynn Krueger and her boyfriend Ryan Scott Warner pleaded not guilty this morning to killing Krueger's 3-year-old daughter Kayleigh Slusher, Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein said.

[Related article: Police: Napa Couple Charged with Murder Admit Keeping 3-Year-Old's Body in Freezer]
 
The girl's body was found Feb. 1 on a bed in the couple's apartment at 2060 Wilkins Ave. in Napa when police went to check on her welfare. Police said Kayleigh's body had been put in a suitcase and placed in a freezer.
 
Lieberstein said an autopsy confirmed the girl died from "multiple blunt impact from injuries to the head, torso and extremities due to fatal child abuse and neglect."
Krueger, 23, and Warner, 26, each face 25 years to life in prison on two charges each -- murder with malice aforethought and assault on a child producing great bodily injuring causing death.
 
They will return to Napa County Superior Court on April 2 for setting of a preliminary hearing. Both are being held under no bail in the Napa County Detention Center. Krueger and Warner were seen leaving the apartment with luggage on Feb. 1.

Neither had a car and efforts to contact them by phone were unsuccessful, police said. After information about the couple was released to the media, police received an anonymous tip from someone who saw them at a restaurant in El Cerrito on Feb. 2, police said.

[Related article: Mother & Boyfriend Arrested in El Cerrito on Suspicion of Sexual Assault, Homicide of 3-Year-Old]
 
BART police detained Krueger and Warner at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station. Napa police responded, interviewed the couple and arrested them. Napa police Capt Jeff Troendly said police went to the apartment on Jan. 29 after someone called to express concerns that Krueger was under the influence of drugs, was not feeding her daughter and was allowing anybody to stay at the apartment.
 
Police found no signs Krueger was under the influence or that Kayleigh was in danger, Troendly said. Between June 2012 and Feb 1, there were 14 calls for service at the apartment, Troendly said.
 
The calls were about unwanted or suspicious people at the apartment, vandalism, petty theft and harassing phone calls but not for violence, he said.
wiseone February 26, 2014 at 12:58 AM
Let's see if we can get beyond the despicable horrors these two lowlifes subjected this child to and look at how the system failed Kayleigh. It seems the police are already responding to the criticism that they failed this child by putting out this public relations statement from Capt. Jeff Troendly : "Police found no signs that Krueger was under the influence of drugs, or that Kayleigh was in danger." Oh really? And what methods of objective,investigative police work were used to determine that this child was not in danger? Police were called 14 times. Would that fact alone not have set off alarms for the cops? And how was child protective services involved? Did the police work with them-as they are required to do by law-to alert them to the need for follow up? And was Sara Krueger on probation? Was she subject to drug testing? How about Ryan Scott Warner? My bet is that he was on probation and was thus subject to being searched for drugs and drug paraphernalia. What is certain in this case is the outcome. We as a community failed this child again and again. I for one demand that this case be brought before a grand jury for investigation into how those failures occurred so we might have a chance at preventing a repeat of this failure in the future.
backinnapa February 26, 2014 at 03:59 PM
Well said "wiseone." 14 calls to the police! Nothing more need be said.
MICHAEL WILSON "TEA PARTY 2014" February 27, 2014 at 02:41 PM
I do not blame the Police What were the 14 calls for? I do not think the Police would have ignored a child in danger 14 times. It is also not a fact the same officers responded all 14 times. The only person to blame is the mother she is the whole list. I also question the 14 calls was this a busy body crying wolf? or where the calls founded by the police? Where the calls for Krueger's direct address or just the complex?
wiseone March 13, 2014 at 03:35 PM
Michael Wilson, You make some really preposterous statements at times,but these really take the cake. First of all, t is very clear from the fact that many of the calls were for safety checks on this child, that the police obviously were aware that this child was potentially at risk. Other calls were for domestic violence,loud noises in the middle of the night,suspected drug activity and theft. All of the calls were indicators to the police that this household was in chaos and that a child was at risk. Do you know of anyone who has anywhere near 14 calls to the police in two years? And it doesn't matter if the same officers arrived and investigated. The information on the 14 calls would have been available to all of the responding officers via their computers,which all police vehicles have. Of course the mother is to blame for this child's death but this in no way means that others aren't also responsible. Children in the state of California are afforded protection from abuse or death by virtue of the fact that they exist. t's state law.The police are the first line of defense and are charged with removing a child and/or reporting that child's parents or guardians to child protective services if they suspect that this child might be subject to abuse or neglect. The law gives officers great leeway in arranging removals and in refereeing to CPS as they are required reporters. As long as they act in good faith-which the court assumes-they are not held legally liable in any way for either a removal of a child or a request for CPS involvement. And your statement of "a busybody crying wolf" is so bizarre given the fact that there were many concerned people-neighbors and family-who called. God bless them for their efforts. These aren't "busybodies" but people who cared about this vulnerable child enough to contact the very folks who should have been protecting Kayleigh. The fact that this child was beaten to death confirms that they were rightfully concerned. I have just one question for you, Michael Wilson. Do you ever engage your brain before you post your comments?
MICHAEL WILSON "TEA PARTY 2014" March 15, 2014 at 09:27 PM
Wise One I do not disagree with your statement. The problem I see is were all the calls for the Krueger Apartment? I just do not see the Police or CPS doing nothing. Why do you suspect the Police did nothing all 14 times there was a call for service?
wiseone March 19, 2014 at 11:18 PM
According to other coverage given this case by other news sources,they were. It would have only taken ONE call to CPS-as these police officers were required by law to make but most probably didn't- to have had Keleigh removed from the home. Child Protctive Services could have easily removed Kayleigh based on many factors. They would have required the mom and her boyfriend to undergo drug testing before Kayleigh was returned to them. If the mom and/or the boyfriend were on probation for previous offenses-which it sounded like they were-this would have sent the whole custody issue into the courts again.Kayleigh would have had a guardian ad litem appointed to advocate for her interests. And the courts don't look too kindly upon meth abusers. The Napa police must change their procedures in working with CPS n these types of cases or we'll see more deaths.
mmdoggie March 22, 2014 at 05:46 AM
What needs to be done is an over haul of our CPS System and Workers. There are parents that don't deserve or should they have custody of their children. There are truly evil people in this world that should not have their children with them nor should they even have had kids. That being said, there are also parents that should have never had to deal with CPS to start with. They were herded through the system as a means to make a profit. The little 3 year old child that was killed recently, unfortunately was one of those cases where CPS was needed. Why weren't they there for that child? This mother had already been through their system. Her 18 months were up. There was no more money to be made from this family. If this family hadn't had a case all ready, they would have been there in a heart beat and yanked that child out of the home with the only evidence being hear say. They do it all the time. So ask yourself these few questions. Why didn't they do it this time? What stopped them from doing what needed to be done this time? Why did a judge have to make a court order for CPS to not speak to the media about this family? That is breach of confidentiality and they know it! Now they are concerned with how the public views them? Really? I think it has more to do with their 'cash cow' being in jeopardy! With people poking around checking out how they carry out their policies and handle their case loads, their crooked practices are at risk of being found out. CPS's first response and action wasn't looking into how their department could have possibly overlooked the issues of this family! It was to obtain a court order to be allowed to breach confidentiality to defend their public image. What bothers me is that their actions after the fact lacked any concern for how and what happened to that child. Their concern was all about their public image and how the public viewed them. Is CPS's lack of concern for the child and the over concern for their public image, the kind of qualities you want to see in CPS Workers in charge of the lives of your children? What would be in the best interest of the child?
wiseone March 26, 2014 at 03:37 PM
mmdoggie, You need to get your facts straight. Child Protective Services (CPS) cannot just unilaterally decide to go into someone's home. A report of child abuse or neglect from an outside agency or person must first be made in order for them to take any action. If they have an open case on a child/family,they have a bit more leeway. But cases don't stay open forever. The duty of child protective services is to investigate allegations and to work with families and other agencies to protect children. The courts ultimately decide whether or not a child is kept in the home,placed with a relative and/or placed in foster care. And CPS by no means uses families or children to "make a profit." Where did you get that idea? There are a slew of services for children and families that are a financial drain on the county's and state's coffers but that "pay off"substantially in the long run. Investments in mental health,alcohol and drug treatment and child protection are good examples. Even f one examines only the financial aspects of social policy,producing healthy children and families is much more cost effective than building prisons and providing incarceration for teens and adults. The reason why the judge denied the court order from the county is unknown. Perhaps that judge didn't want the actions of the local court's judges scrutinized. Perhaps they didn't want information to be made public that would jeopardize the criminal trials of those charged with Kayleigh's death.Who knows? The last time I checked,we can't force people to NOT have children.The best we can do is remove children from those who are known to have abused or neglected them. Most courts are becoming more proactive in now removing babies and young children from those who have been convicted of serious felonies in the past,such as child abuse. I agree with this. And I think that no methamphetemine abusing person should have access to children.

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