Family of Tortured and Murdered 3-Year-Old Girl to Receive $5 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Nearly five years after 3-year-old Kayleigh Slusher was tortured and murdered by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, Kayleigh’s relatives will receive $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The settlement, announced on Wednesday, calls for the city and county of Napa, California, to each pay $2.5 million to Kayleigh’s father, Jason Slusher, and her grandparents, Robin and Benny Slusher.
“Kayleigh Slusher’s death was a terrible tragedy,” the city wrote in a statement. “The City and County of Napa have committed to doing everything in their power to prevent and protect other children from suffering child abuse and neglect.”
The statement added, “The murder of a child by her caretakers is unfathomable, and an unspeakable tragedy for her grandmother and father. Kayleigh’s death shocked and saddened the entire Napa Community.”
Kayleigh was found dead in her bed in January 2014. Police confirmed she died from multiple blunt force trauma, and was found partially frozen at her mother’s apartment after her body was put in the freezer.
An autopsy revealed that Kayleigh had 41 distinguishable injuries all over her body. The fatal injury was a rupture in her small intestine.
Kayleigh’s mother, Sara Lynn Krueger, and her then-boyfriend, Ryan Scott Warner, received life sentences without the possibility of parole for the child’s murder.
In May 2015, Kayleigh’s father and grandparents filed a lawsuit against the city and county in federal court, alleging that the Napa Police Department and Child Welfare Services staff did not properly investigate allegations that the 3-year-old was abused and neglected by her mother, according to multiple local outlets.
The lawsuit claimed officers were dispatched to the apartment where Kayleigh lived five times in the months leading up to her death, adding that the final three visits occurred in her final two weeks of life.
“It took a village to kill Kayleigh. Two of the people responsible for her death were held accountable in the criminal courts. We filed this case to bring reform and accountability to the rest of the people who caused Kayleigh’s death,” Julia Sherwin, an attorney for the Slusher family, told PEOPLE in a statement.
“If the police and social workers had done their jobs, Kayleigh would still be here,” grandmother Robin said in the statement.
Father Jason added, “I don’t have words to describe the pain and agony I have experienced since Kayleigh’s death. It never goes away. But I want to make sure no child ever suffers the way Kayleigh did.”
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In the statement released on Wednesday, the Napa Police Department also explained the improvements to its policies for reporting suspected child abuse. In addition, it revealed updates to trainings for officers and dispatchers since Kayleigh’s death.
“While the county and Child Welfare Services maintains that CWS followed state law when responding to the complaint of abuse or neglect … we came to the decision that it was best to end the litigation and settle the case,” Deputy County Executive Officer Molly Rattigan told the Los Angeles Times.
“The City, the Police Department and the officers all deeply regret that they were not able to discover the truth about Kayleigh’s physical and life threatening injuries, and were not able to save her life,” the statement read.