Police continue investigation into Kayleigh Slusher's death

Child welfare workers and police are evaluating how they responded to a home in Napa where a girl's body was found over the weekend.
February 5, 2014 7:36:28 PM PST
Child welfare workers and police are evaluating how they responded to a home in Napa where a little girl's body was found over the weekend.

Kayleigh Slusher, 3, had been killed several days before police made a welfare call on the home.

The big question among police and Child Welfare Services is, did she fall through the cracks of the system in this county?

"Transparency is important. I think our community deserves to know what we did or didn't do," Napa County Child Welfare Director Linda Canan said.

But Wednesday afternoon, a juvenile court judge ruled against allowing Canan to provide details. She could only say that her department made no errors.

"As far as what we expected, as far as harm coming to that child, by no means," Captain Jeff Troendly said.

Troendly described the nature of some of the 14 calls his department made to defendant Sara Krueger's apartment since June of 2012.

"Property crime, thefts, vandalism, disturbances, unwanted persons, things like that, we have not gotten risen to the level anywhere where we were as far as February 1," Troendly said.

Last Saturday, police found Kayleigh reportedly beaten to death.

After their arrest, Krueger and her boyfriend Ryan Scott Warner, 26 admitted to having placed her body in a suitcase and storing it in a freezer for three days.

Even more frustrating for police, is that on January 29 they visited the apartment, once again, after a report that Krueger was using drugs and not feeding Kayleigh.

"What I can tell you is officers did respond to that location. Evaluation was made of person's in that home and there was nothing they found that was related to drugs or drug-use at that point and the child appeared to be in a safe environment," Troendly said.

Police had no compelling reason to call child welfare and report a threat. Without finding fault, child welfare believes the facts leave plenty of room for improvement.

"It would be a disservice to Kayleigh if we didn't really delve as deeply as we possibly can and learn from this tragedy. It would be a terrible disservice," Canan said.

Krueger and Warner were charged with murder and felony assault on a child, causing death on Tuesday. Neither charge includes special circumstances.

Prosecutors are waiting for one key piece of information before considering the death penalty.

The coroner's report won't be available until late next week.

Kayleigh's body has been released by the coroner to a Napa funeral home. The family intends to have a private service and memorial.

Krueger and Warner will return to court on February 25 with public defenders to enter their pleas.

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