A Northern California city and county have agreed to pay a combined $5 million and make changes to how they handle child welfare cases over the torture and murder of a 3-year-old girl. [SF Chronicle]
In 2014, Kayleigh Slusher was tortured and murdered by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. The couple stuffed the girl’s body in a duffel bag and left it in a freezer for three days before placing it in the girl’s bed.
The mother, Sara Lynn Krueger, and the boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner, were convicted in 2017 of first-degree murder in the torture and killing of the toddler. Kreuger and Warner were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A lawsuit filed in United States District Court in San Francisco alleged Kayleigh died, in part, because of the failure of police and social workers to recognize that the girl was suffering abuse and neglect and was in immediate danger at home because of the criminal conduct and activities of Krueger and Warner. Police made multiple visits to the house prior to the child’s murder.
The settlement, which was announced Wednesday, calls for the city and county of Napa to each pay $2.5 million to Kayleigh’s father and grandparents. The city and county of Napa have also agreed to changes in their training and policies on handling child welfare cases.
Despite agreeing to the settlement, the city and county released statements saying they followed state law in the case. Napa Police Chief Robbert Plummer said the city and police department deny liability, but made the payments agreed upon in the settlement.
“I don’t have words to describe the pain and agony I have experience since Kayleigh’s death,” Jason Slusher, the slain girl’s father, said in a statement. “It never goes away. But I want to make sure no child ever suffers the way Kayleigh did.”