Mother convicted of killing baby, hiding remains in storage unit
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (CNN) — A 34-year-old woman was convicted of second-degree murder in Riverside County Tuesday in the death of her 2-month-old daughter whose remains were found in an Arkansas storage unit.
Jurors deliberated for only an hour before finding Krissy Lynn Werntz guilty of murdering 2-month-old Montana in Desert Hot Springs in 2001, according to a news release from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The decomposed remains of the infant were found in February 2002 after the unit’s contents were sold because Werntz and her boyfriend Jason Michael Hann failed to pay the bill, the release stated.
The person who bought the contents found the child’s body stuffed in a plastic container.
The discovery triggered a nationwide search for Werntz and Hann who were eventually arrested in April 2002 at a motel in Portland, Maine.
When they were arrested investigators found the couple’s third child, a baby boy who was about a month old, suffering from life-threatening injuries consistent with child abuse including a dozen rib fractures and retinal hemorrhages, the release stated.
The day after the arrests, police found the remains of another one of the couple’s children in a storage unit in Arizona, the release stated.
That baby, a boy less than two months old, had been killed in July 1999 in Vermont and his remains kept in a plastic container by the couple for more than a year before they rented the Arizona storage unit in December 2000, the release stated.
In February 2006, Hann entered a plea of no contest in Vermont to the boy’s murder.
He was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 27 to 30 years in prison.
Hann was then brought back to Riverside County and tried for Montana’s murder. In that case he was convicted and sentenced to death.
Werntz faced 15 years to life in prison for her part in Montana’s murder when she is sentenced on June 27.
She was never charged in the death of the baby boy.