General Crime

Kayleigh Slusher Murder Case, Couple Charged in Her Murder, Kept Her Body in Freezer

The Napa County District Attorney’s Office this afternoon charged a Napa woman and her boyfriend with the murder and deadly assault of the woman’s 3-year-old daughter in their Napa apartment. Sara Lynn Krueger, 23, and Ryan Scott Warner, 26, of Napa, did not enter pleas in Napa County Superior Court this afternoon to the murder and assault of Kayleigh Slusher, Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein said.

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The couple waived their right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days, and they will be arraigned and possibly enter pleas on Feb. 25. Krueger and Warner face 25 years to life in prison on each of the two charges — murder with malice aforethought, and assault on a child with force producing great bodily injury causing death, Lieberstein said. They are being held under no bail in the Napa County jail. Lieberstein said the murder was committed on or about Jan. 30. The girl’s body was found on a bed in Krueger’s and Warner’s Royal Gardens apartment at 2060 Wilkins Ave. around 1 p.m. Saturday after a neighbor asked police to make a welfare check, Napa police Lt. Debbie Peecook said. Kayleigh suffered blunt force trauma and appeared to have been sexually assaulted, Peecook said.

Napa police Capt. Jeff Troendly said this afternoon that Krueger and Warner told police investigators they kept Kayleigh’s body in a freezer before they put it on a bed in the apartment and left. Krueger and Warner were seen leaving the apartment with luggage around 10 a.m. Saturday. Neither one had a car and attempts by police to contact them by cellphone were unsuccessful, Peecook said. Information about the couple was released to the media, and police received an anonymous tip from a citizen who saw them at a restaurant in El Cerrito on Sunday.

BART Police Department officers contacted the couple at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station at 11 a.m. Sunday. They were detained and Napa police picked them up, interviewed and arrested them. Both were then booked on the two charges in the Napa County Detention Center. Kayleigh’s father, 33-year-old Jason Slusher, is serving three years in San Quentin State Prison for attempting to evade a police officer while driving recklessly in Napa County. Troendly said police went to the apartment on Thursday 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 Saturday, 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. An autopsy on Kayleigh was performed Monday, and the cause of death is pending toxicology tests and further analysis, Troendly said.

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