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Iowa parents allegedly drowned baby in bathtub just after birth, affidavit says

FORT DODGE, Iowa (WHO) – New details about the death of an Iowa newborn and the investigation that resulted in murder charges against her parents have been revealed in court documents.

Brandon Thoma, 31, and Taylor Blaha, 24, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of their newborn daughter. Thoma is also charged with abuse of a corpse. Fort Dodge Police Department announced the arrests Wednesday.

According to an affidavit in the case, law enforcement received a call from an Iowa Department of Human Services employee on Nov. 22 informing them that Blaha allegedly admitted to giving birth to a baby at her residence and the body had been buried at an undisclosed location.

During a detective’s interview with Blaha, the affidavit claims she became aware in April that she was pregnant with Thoma’s child. The pair already share a 2-year-old son.

Blaha allegedly told the detective she gave birth to a baby girl on November 16, 2022, in the bathroom of the couple’s apartment. She said Thoma was in the bedroom while she gave birth, but once the child was born he went into the bathroom.

The court document said the child was born alive and was crying and moving her arms and legs. Blaha told the detective she and Thoma named the child Kayleen Lee Blaha.

According to the affidavit, after the birth, Blaha asked for and was given methamphetamine by Thoma to help with the pain of birth.

Blaha allegedly told the detective she and Thoma had no plans to keep the baby and were going to allow Blaha’s sister to adopt her.

The crying of the baby caused the pair to worry their neighbors would hear and contact law enforcement. That’s when, according to the affidavit, they both placed the newborn in the half-filled bathtub and pushed her underwater by placing their hands on the baby’s chest, resulting in her death.

During a statement on Dec. 7, the charging document said Thoma told police he and Blaha were afraid their 2-year-old son would be taken away if law enforcement got involved and learned the newborn baby had methamphetamine in her system.

After the baby had died, Blaha told the detective Thoma removed the child’s body and placed it in a plastic storage container, wrapped her in multiple plastic bags, and then into a black backpack. Thoma said he left their apartment with the backpack and returned later.

Text messages between Blaha and Thoma showed Thoma initially disposed of the baby’s body in a wooded area near the Kenyon Road Bridge. A search of that area by law enforcement did not reveal the child’s remains.

On Dec. 5, the affidavit said Thoma told law enforcement he would take them to where he discarded the child’s body, a rural area north of the North Central Iowa Regional Landfill. A full excavation of the area was completed between December 5-6 but investigators still did not find the baby’s body.

Examination of Blaha and Thoma’s electronic devices showed they made searches about how to force a miscarriage. Blaha allegedly admitted to the detective that the two had tried to cause a miscarriage but attempts were unsuccessful.

The affidavit also revealed the couple kept sections of the baby’s umbilical cord in order to remember the baby. A search warrant turned up “an object consistent with an umbilical cord or remains of a human placenta” located in the top drawer of a dresser at the couple’s apartment.

Thoma and Blaha are being held in the Webster County Jail on cash-only bonds. Thoma’s is $1,050,000 and Blaha’s is $1,000,000. Both are expected to make their first jail court appearances Thursday morning.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/iowa-parents-allegedly-drowned-baby-in-bathtub-just-after-birth-affidavit-says/

California man hired ‘spellcasters’ to hex wife before she disappeared, affidavit says

SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – The husband of Maya Millete was in a “desperate, frantic, unbalanced mindset” in the months leading up to her disappearance, a key investigator writes in the most detailed account yet of Larry Millete’s behavior before her suspected murder.

Larry Millete was arrested Tuesday in a San Diego suburb after nine months of high-profile investigation. The detailed depiction of him comes in an affidavit from Detective Jesse Vicente, a 15-year veteran of Chula Vista Police Department who works in the Crimes of Violence Unit.

The detective’s account centers on the idea that Larry’s attempts to maintain his marriage became an increasingly aggressive obsession. Authorities say Maya, who also went by “May,” had been in an affair and wanted a divorce but “Larry was determined to stop her.”

In court filings and several text exchanges with KSWB over recent months, Larry and his attorney have denied any wrongdoing and accused police, media outlets and Maya’s family of treating him unfairly.

Investigators say they found signs the couple’s marriage was fraying dating back to at least September 2020, at which time Larry was becoming “increasingly obsessed with May’s activities and communications with other people.”

Larry grew “increasingly paranoid,” the detective wrote, and family members and friends described him as “controlling” or “stalker-like.” That included visits to Maya’s work, arriving unannounced at her Department of Defense office “to see if she was meeting with another man,” Vicente wrote.

Investigators found that Larry’s internet activity also centered on controlling Maya in the marriage. This included more mundane searches – like “my wife doesn’t want me to touch her” – and articles about maintaining a relationship. But the searches also veered into violence, demonstrating “homicidal ideation,” according to the detective.

Larry searched “plant you take to never wake up,” “water hemlock” and for a variety of drugs that could be used to incapacitate a person, including the known “date rape” drug Rohypnol, investigators found.

There were also the “spellcasters,” a revelation that first came to light in a news conference held by authorities the day of Larry’s arrest. The husband had repeated contact with various companies offering “spells” online, authorities said. The purported psychics and spirit channelers sold Larry spells he could “cast” on May.

The magic was initially aimed at making Larry’s wife obey him or fall back in love with him, Vicente said. Eventually, though, Millete wrote that it was “time to take the gloves off.”

“The emails became increasingly panicked,” Vicente says, describing spells that Larry purchased to harm Maya badly enough that she relied on him and couldn’t leave. On a family trip to ride dirt bikes, for example, Larry appeared to request a curse that would make his wife crash and get stuck on bedrest, investigators say.

“Can you hex to have her hurt enough that she will have to depend on me and need my help,” Larry wrote in an email, according to the affidavit. “She’s only nice to me when she needs me or sick.”

In January 2021, as Larry learned that his wife was serious about proceeding with a divorce, “Larry was growing more desperate,” Vicente said. “I think she wants me to snap,” he wrote in an email, according to the detective. “I’m shaking inside ready to snap.”

While investigators say they built their case on evidence of Larry’s online obsession with his wife, a sudden departure from that activity was also presented as a critical clue. Starting Jan. 9, one day after his wife’s disappearance, “Larry’s focus shifts.”

“He sends emails through the beginning of February asking to punish the man with whom May had an affair,” the detective said. “As of January 9, Larry does not direct any more spells or ‘hexes’ toward May, nor does he make any more requests for assistance with his crumbling marriage.”

“When Larry’s desperate begging and threats failed to stop May from seeking a divorce, the thought of losing his family was unfathomable to him,” Vicente wrote. The evidence laid out in the affidavit, he later concludes “provides probable cause to believe that Larry is responsible for causing May’s death.”

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/california/california-man-hired-spellcasters-to-hex-wife-before-she-disappeared-affidavit-says/