Some of Kaia Josie Krempl’s first experiences in her short life were being abused by her father, loved ones said.
They wrote the court about seeing the baby’s swollen skull. Doctors said she suffered broken bones and brain damage.
They said a nurse assured them that the infant was getting medicine for any pain. They recounted how her grandfather held her for days in the weeks before she died.
Meanwhile, the child’s father was behind bars, where he’ll be for quite some time.
Friday, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Gretchen Leanderson sentenced 30-year-old Daniel Joseph Krempl to 23 years in prison for his daughter’s death.
He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree assault and received a sentence above the standard range for his crimes.
Charging papers give this account:
On Jan. 17, Kaia’s mother died from natural causes, and paramedics went to the family home to investigate the death.
They noticed Kaia had flu-like symptoms similar to her mother’s, and took the baby and her twin brother to a hospital.
Doctors found the Kaia was in critical condition, with a broken arm, broken ribs, a skull fracture and brain damage.
Kremple was arrested the next day.
Kaia died from her injuries March 17, when she was about 3 months old, and the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide.
Among the causes — blunt force trauma to the head.
Krempl told investigators the twins were his first children, and that Kaia was a “diva” while her brother was “chill.”
He’d been caring for the twins alone for about five days after the mother fell ill, and said he didn’t know about Kaia’s injuries.
He said that, days earlier, the mother had fallen on the stairs while carrying Kaia.
He said he searched for information about head injuries on his phone but also told investigators he didn’t notice any injuries to the baby.
Police checked his phone and found a record of searches, including “what do I do after I beat my infant.”
Krempl’s attorney did not return a News Tribune message Monday.
Kaia’s loved ones asked that Krempl get as much time in prison as possible.
“The person who’s supposed to protect her, love her and guide her through life is the same person that caused her suffering and, ultimately, her death,” one of her aunts, Shacole Howard, wrote the judge.
The child’s court-appointed special advocate also wrote the court about Kaia’s injuries.
“I wasn’t sure I could even go see her,” Diane J. Wisley’s letter reads. “I did not know if my heart could handle the situation.”
But she did go, and said she bonded with the girl in the hospital.
“I heard the prognosis over and over again that she would not survive and if she did she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life,” Wisley wrote.
“I went to court and watched as the judge painfully and dutifully took his time in rendering a decision to remove the breathing tube.”
Most people in a courtroom full of attorneys and social workers were in tears, she said.
Wisley asked for the maximum sentence possible, but added she didn’t think it would be enough for what Kaia suffered.
“I frankly don’t believe we can provide that on this earth,” she wrote.