Ottumwa Mother Charged with Murder in Death of 5-Year-Old Daughter

A mother from Ottumwa has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 5-year-old daughter, according to a criminal complaint affidavit.

A news release from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation stated that Kelsie R. Thomas, 22, was arrested on Thursday after she admitted to law enforcement that she killed her daughter.

The criminal complaint and affidavit state that Thomas “while committing child endangerment, set in motion a series of events that caused the death of the victim that manifested an extreme indifference to the victim’s life.”

The girl’s obituary identifies her as Cloe Marie Chandler and was born November 11, 2012, in Marshalltown and graduated in May from the Agassiz preschool in Ottumwa.

“She loved riding her bike, sticker books, sunflowers and everything purple,” the obituary said.

Ottumwa police previously said a 911 call at about 3:22 p.m. on July 19 led officers to Thomas’ home on the 100 block of North James Street. The girl was unresponsive and was taken to an Ottumwa hospital, where she was declared dead.

An autopsy of the girl was carried out on Monday, but the results are still pending, the release states.

Ottumwa police and special agents with the DCI carried out search warrants and multiple interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday before speaking with Thomas, according to the release.

Thomas is being held in the Wapello County Jail. No bond has been set until her initial arraignment on the charge.

The investigation is ongoing, officials said. The Ottumwa Fire Department, ORMICS Ambulance Service, Wapello County Attorney’s Office, Iowa Attorney General’s Office and state medical examiner are assisting Ottumwa police and the DCI.

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