Man pleads guilty in death of 2-year-old child
A local man will spend the next 10 years in prison after he admitted in court to causing the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old child, Zackariah Daugherty.
Taylor Lynn Kraig, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter on July 13 of this year. He was born in Tualatin and lived with his parents in Oregon City.
Kraig was 20 years old and alone with the infant inside his girlfriend's Southeast 162nd Avenue apartment in Portland on August 15, 2016 — the day Zackariah's heart stopped due to cardiac arrest.
Doctors at Portland Adventist found "blackening bruises" on Zachariah's nose and eyes, a large bruise on his forehead and more bruising on his legs and inner thighs as well as bruised and scraped feet. Court documents also report a "dark, purplish bruise" and a tear near the infant's anus.
A police officer noted that while speaking with a doctor about the injuries, "defendant's only question was whether Zackariah regained consciousness and said anything to the medical staff," according to the case file.
Kraig was arrested, and later told detectives that Zackariah had fallen about three feet off a play structure tic-tac-toe game on August 12, though he could not provide the name or exact location of the park.
Medical experts, however, concluded that Zackariah's injuries "were not consistent with any type of fall," according to a news release. Zachariah's mother, Amanda Daugherty, initially repeated the playground fall story but later admitted it was a lie and said that Zachariah had seemed fine when she left for work that morning.
As part of the plea deal, Kraig was found not guilty of aggravated murder, first-degree unlawful penetration, first-degree criminal mistreatment and fourth-degree assault. Prosecutors say Amanda Daugherty supported the final charges.
"I will never understand why he had to be taken from me… I know he lives on because I see pieces of him everywhere I go," she said in a statement read aloud in court. "I just wish he was actually here with me… Without my Zack, I will never be the same."
The Multnomah County District Attorney's office noted that while the Medical Examiner at first ruled the death a homicide, the cause of death was later declared undetermined. Officials have not speculated about what occurred during Zachariah's final hours.
"We know from the investigation Mr. Kraig was the sole caretaker of Zackariah on the day of his death," Deputy District Attorney Amanda Nadell said. "At the time it became clear that [Zackariah] was in extreme medical distress, Mr. Kraig delayed seeking medical treatment for well over an hour before the child was ultimately brought to the hospital."
Kraig, a high school dropout who worked as a mover, had no prior criminal record. He told jailers he had struggled with mental illness and drugs, but had not used meth for one year.