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A Colorado mother has been charged with child abuse for allegedly spending two nights in a freezing car after getting stranded on a deserted road, which left her 18-month-old daughter dead and her 3-year-old with foot amputations.
Kaylee Messerly, 36, was arrested on a warrant on Friday and is charged with child abuse resulting in death and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, both felonies, the Moffat County Sheriff's Office says in a release.
Messerly allegedlywhen she was rescued, according to an arrest warrant obtained by local station KDVR.
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She and her daughters went missing on March 9 after she took the girls for a drive near Craig.
Her car got stuck near County Road 54 in Moffat County on a road "not frequently traveled in the winter months," the MCSO says in the release.
She told police she had become "disoriented and lost" after the car got stuck in the mud, according to the warrant.
"She shut her car off, then she could not get it to start again," the arrest warrant states. "She and her children sat in the car for about four hours, hoping that someone would come along and help them."
When no one came, "she realized she probably had sat in the car too long," the warrant says. "She decided to take her children and began walking towards what she thought was a house. She stated it turned out that what she thought was a house, was not, instead it (sic) to be a pump house. It soon became dark, then it started snowing."
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After being exposed to the elements for two days, help finally arrived.
On March 11 at about 8 a.m., the MCSO was notified about a "suspicious vehicle" near County Road 54 in Moffat County.
Deputies found the car on a service road south of Country Road 54 stuck in the mud and the snow, with no one inside.
Deputies immediately began searching for whoever had been in the car with the help of Moffat County Search & Rescue and a plane that scoured the area.
Searchers found Messerly and the children about a mile from the car, suffering from serious environmental exposure injuries, the MCSO says in the release.
The 18-month-old was found dead.
Messerly and her 3-year-old daughter were rushed through the snow on a utility vehicle with treads to a waiting ambulance before being taken to a local hospital.
The 3-year-old was then flown to Children's Hospital in Aurora.
The girl had to have her feet amputated because of severe frostbite, the warrant says, KDVR reports.
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Doctors called the frostbite "one of if not the worst cases [sic] they had ever seen at Children's Hospital," the warrant states, KDVR reports.
Messerly's toes were amputated as a result of the frostbite, the warrant says.
After a month-long investigation, on Friday authorities issued the arrest warrant for Messerly, who was taken into custody and booked into the Moffat County Jail, where she remains held.
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As she awaits her next court date, her family is mourning the loss of Emma, the baby who died, and rallying around her older sister, whose feet were amputated.
"Messerly's sister, Amy Messerly, told KDVR. "She was such a character. She had so much personality. I will never forget her little face."
Amy started ato raise money for a headstone for Emma.
It is unclear whether Messerly has retained an attorney who can comment on her behalf.
She has not yet entered a plea.
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