Messerly bound over to district court in daughters’ death, injury cases
For the Craig Press
A Craig woman accused of causing the death of her daughter and the serious bodily injury of another daughter had her cases bound over to district court this week.
Kaylee Messerly, 36, appeared before Judge Brittany Schneider in Moffat County Court Friday morning for a preliminary hearing about her two charges. Messerly is being represented by attorney Frank Moya.
Moffat County Sheriff’s Lt. Chip McIntyre testified as a witness during the morning proceedings.
Messerly faces a felony charge of child abuse resulting in death. It’s classified as an extraordinary risk crime, resulting in the higher sentencing range of eight to 24 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines and a mandatory three-year parole period.
Additionally, Messerly faces a felony charge of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, which is also classified as an extraordinary risk crime, resulting in the higher sentencing range of up to 16 years in prison, up to $750,000 in fines and a mandatory five-year parole period.
Messerly’s 18-month-old daughter was determined to have died of hypothermia following an autopsy, McIntyre told the court.
Messerly was arrested on April 9 on two felony warrants after the girls’ death in March that followed a search for the woman and her two young children.
Around 8 a.m. on March 11, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a suspicious vehicle near County Road 54, which is primarily used by oilfield workers and other service technicians.
When deputies were dispatched to the area, they saw an unoccupied Volkswagen vehicle stuck in the mud and snow on the side of the road. Following an initial search, more resources were used to survey the area, including an aerial search.
This is how Messerly and her three-year-old daughter were found, it was stated in court on Friday. They were alive, but both suffered from environmental exposure injuries.
McIntyre told the court that the little girl was airlifted to an Aurora hospital, where both of her feet were ultimately amputated due to the amount of frostbite she experienced over the 36-hour period. The little girl also tested positive for methamphetamine, although he couldn’t say as to whether the levels of the drug were high or low in her system.
Messerly’s 18-month-old daughter died sometime overnight between March 9 and March 10 and was found about 130 yards away from her mother and sister.
“She was laying in a clump of brush on her back and her eyes were open,” McIntyre said in his testimony. “She didn’t have shoes on. She was wearing some type of leggings and she was deceased.”
Messerly also tested positive for methamphetamines, amphetamines and THC while being treated for her own frostbite injuries at Memorial Regional Health. She told police and a victim’s advocate while at the hospital that if she tested positive for methamphetamines, it was because she had eaten snow that was near a methane gas tank.
At some point, she told the victim’s advocate “the stupid child didn’t eat the snow,” but it wasn’t clear which daughter she was referring to.
In a subsequent interview, Messerly admitted to doing a “hot rail,” in which meth is snorted through a heated glass pipe, some time on March 8 or March 9.
McIntyre filled in some details about how the woman and her daughters ended up on the road, but some information still wasn’t clear.
The lieutenant said that Messerly told police that she took the girls out to that area to look for rocks sometime on March 9 and that the weather was mild when they left their home, noting that the younger child liked the play in the street and Messerly wanted to keep the girl from doing that.
She also told officers that she had regrets about that day, including not checking the weather and doing methamphetamine.
She also did not take her cell phone when she and her daughters left their home.
While the three were out on the road, Messerly’s vehicle got stuck in the mud. She waited for about four hours for any help to come, but when it didn’t, she and the girls left the car and began heading southeast.
The girls weren’t dressed appropriately for the weather, but by leaving the car, Messerly also left behind jackets, shoes and even a large blanket.
The three were ultimately found less than a mile away from the car and it wasn’t clear why Messerly didn’t take the girls back to the vehicle when the weather turned cold.
There was also some type of pump station near Messerly and the girls that could have provided shelter that was unlocked, but it also wasn’t clear why Messerly didn’t use this shelter.
McIntyre noted it wasn’t clear what happened between the time Messerly left the car sometime on March 9 and the time the three were found on March 11.
Moya argued that Messely became disoriented and was trapped “in a blizzard,” but Schneider did not hear any other testimony that stated the weather was quite that severe.
After hearing the evidence presented, Schneider determined that the prosecution had proven enough probable cause that Messerly was reckless in the death of her younger daughter and the injury of her older daughter, so she decided to bind the cases over to district court.
Messerly will appear before Judge Sandra Gardner at 9 a.m. on July 6.
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