Two Minnesota parents have been accused of killing an 8-year-old girl in their home. The couple was charged with murder after they decided to dish out harsh punishment for the child’s simple mistake.
Autumn Hallow, an 8-year-old Minnesota girl, had her life cut tragically short after the little girl allegedly made an innocent mistake. The hell the child endured during her last weeks and months on this earth would all come to light, but only after it was too late. It wouldn’t be until Autumn’s lifeless body was found in a bathtub that the torture she had faced would be revealed, following a 911 call to report her death.
Sarah Hallow, Autumn’s stepmother, called emergency services after allegedly finding Autumn unresponsive and face down in a bath in their apartment on a Thursday. According to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, officers arrived at the complex and found Sarah performing chest compressions on the girl. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful, and Autumn was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sarah alleged that Autumn said she was going to take a shower, but when she went to check on her 40 minutes later, she found her face down in the water. When police responded to the call at approximately 3:45 pm, however, it didn’t take long for them to realize something wasn’t right with Sarah’s story. Responding officers said that Autumn’s skin was dry and her hair was only damp when they found her, despite Sarah claiming that she found Autumn in the bathtub.
That wasn’t the only problem.
Upon finding Autumn’s dead body, investigators quickly realized the deceased was severely emaciated, weighing only 45 pounds. In addition to being “extremely frail and thin,” Autumn’s body also showed signs of abuse, and investigators said she had likely been dead for some time before police received the call, based on the condition of her body.
Brett Hallow, Autumn’s 30-year-old father, told officers that he woke up to screams from Sarah and that he found her with Autumn lying next to her on the floor. Investigators, however, found blood in the bathroom and “pin marks” on Autumn’s forehead. The 8-year-old’s body also had cuts as well as multiple bruises, and her fingers were blue when officers found her.
An autopsy found head trauma and indicated that Autumn likely died from asphyxiation. Sarah and Brett Hallow were both arrested, charged with one count of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter, and ordered held without bond, according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press. However, the nightmare that was Autumn’s life had only been partially exposed.
Much more was about to come to out as others were questioned, including the Hallows’ other children. Following the parents’ arrest, the Hallows’ six-year-old son and Sarah’s 10-year-old daughter were interviewed by investigators and child protection workers. What they revealed was horrifying.
Apparently, the child had endured horrendous punishment, simply for wetting herself. “The six-year-old said his parents had used a brown belt to tie up Autumn and put her in a red sleeping bag, which they would move to different rooms or the bathtub,” Daily Mail reported. “He said they would tie her up any time she misbehaved or urinated in her clothes.”
According to the criminal complaint, both children accused their parents of being abusive towards Autumn. The Hallows’ son also said he heard a large bang coming from the bathroom the same morning Autumn was found dead while Sarah and Brett were in there with Autumn, and the 10-year-old girl said she saw blood in the bath and that Autumn wasn’t breathing.
Of course, both Brett and Sarah deny the accusations.
Sarah alleged that she did not shout at Autumn, restrain her, or put her in the sleeping bag. Brett also denied the accusations, and Sarah said she didn’t know where Autumn sustained her injuries. She did, however, admit that the child weighed only around 45 pounds and that they hadn’t taken her to a doctor.
Kelsey Kruse, Autumn’s biological mother, said the couple had kept her from seeing her daughter for several months out of coronavirus fears and that Autumn was well the last time she saw her.
“I hate you both,” Kelsey wrote in a Facebook post, addressing the Hallows. “You have given me and my family a permanent scar. You took something we will never get back,” the grieving mother continued. “I will make sure that Autumn is remembered in the most beautiful way possible because she deserves nothing less. I wanted to give her the world and I will find a way to make sure I still do. I hope your other children know what you did, and I hope they grow up knowing that their sister saved them.”
In a separate post, addressing her daughter, Kelsey wrote, “Your father kept you from me for several months, and he then took your life. I hope you know how much I tried to get you… All of your siblings were lucky to have a sister like you.”
The grief Kelsey must feel is unimaginable. There’s no bigger betrayal a mother can face than when someone, who should be able to be trusted, knowingly hurts their child. May the Hallows get what they deserve for what they’ve done.