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Lawsuit filed to determine eligibility of life insurance funds after 2-year-old boy dies in home

A lawsuit has been filed by a life insurance company to determine who should receive a $10,000 life insurance benefit after a 2-year-old boy died in Buchanan County in 2018 from hyperthermia and dehydration.

Posted: Jul 3, 2019 1:13 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2019 3:44 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A lawsuit has been filed by a life insurance company to determine who should receive a $10,000 life insurance benefit after a 2-year-old boy died in Buchanan County in 2018 from hyperthermia and dehydration.

The lawsuit was filed in the Western District of Missouri on July 1 by Life Insurance Company of North America.

According to the lawsuit filed by the insurance company, Kailie Saliger, the mother of the boy, is vying for the policy's payout against Scott Saliger, the boy's father on his own behalf, and on behalf of the boy's half-siblings.

In October 2018, Kailie Saliger and Scott Saliger, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in relation to the death of the boy. According to court documents, Kailie Saliger fell asleep at her home and when she woke up her son was dead and trapped in his bedroom.

A probable cause statement obtained by KQ2, shows law enforcement officers responded to the home on Ocbober 15, 2018, and found the Saliger home in poor condition.

Officers were forced to wear personal protection equipment and air purifying respirators before entering the home due to the overwhelming odor along with the large amount of trash found inside. Once inside, officers discovered large amounts of mice droppings and gnats.

The probable cause statement further says that Kailie Saliger laid the 2-year-old boy down for a nap in his bedroom and went to sleep. The boy was left unsupervised for nearly five hours with no access to food or drink. Heat coming from a vent in the room was measured at 120 degrees Farenheit, according to the lawsuit. 

According to the medical examiner's report, the boy died from hyperthermia and dehydration. 

In March 2019, both parents pleaded guilty to Endangering the Welfare of a Child Creating Substantial Risk in the first degree and sentenced to four years probation.

Under Missouri Law, a beneficiary who intentionally and feloniously causes the death of the insured person may not take under the policy of the insurance. Furthermore, if a beneficiary is guilty of the intentional killing of the insured without legal excuse or justification, they are not entitled to the benefit. If the court finds that the guilty plea by Kailie Saliger is adequate proof that she was implicated in or caused the death of the boy, the life insurance company says she would not be entitled to the benefits.

In this lawsuit, the life insurance company is asking a federal judge to decide if either of the parents are eligible for the policy in light of their guilty pleas or if the half-siblings have eligible claims to the policy. The boy was covered under an employee welfare benefit plan from the mother's employer.

The plan lists Kailie Saliger as the sole beneficiary of the employee insurance policy.

The life insurance company says they are ready and willing to pay the benefit but requests the court determine who the benefit should be paid to.

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