Toddler's Parents Say Child Was Beaten, Still Fighting For Her Life

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

MONONA, Iowa — Police are still searching for a Monona man wanted for questioning over life-threatening injuries suffered by 18-month-old Myah Larson.

Police have been looking for 21-year-old Troy Laufenberg on child endangerment and several drug-related charges, but have been unable to locate him.

Myah's mother, Emily Voshell, 18, said she left her two daughters with Laufenberg on July 15 while she made a trip to the grocery store. She said when she returned home, Laufenberg told her there had been an accident and Myah had fallen down the stairs.

Inside the couple's Monona apartment, Voshell said she found Myah unconscious and barely breathing. "I held my daughter's airway open in front of a fan until the ambulance got there," Voshell said.

Rescue workers took Myah to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Investigators said Myah is still in the hospital after suffering severe head trauma. Doctors told the family her injuries are consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

"The doctors told me that her injuries weren't consistent with falling down the stairs," Voshell said.

Shortly after that, Laufenberg disappeared.

"I think it was a very coward thing to do. No matter how angry you are," said Matt Larson, Myah's father. "I don't know how you could do that to an innocent baby."

Two weeks ago, Voshell and Larson decided to take Myah off life support.

"She moves her arms a little bit ... when you talk to her, she'll move her head in the way the voice is coming from," Voshell said. " ... I don't want to give up on my child. I don't want to throw the rag in and give up on her."

Larson said he and Voshell have rarely left their daughter's side. "Our daughter is one of the strongest babies, and she's still fighting," Larson said.

Voshell said she has heard from Laufenberg since he disappeared. She says he called her from a restricted number, but denied he had anything to do with Myah's injuries.
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