Bagley Woman Receives Prison Sentence

By: News Intern Katherine Jones 

RED LAKE FALLS-A Bagley woman will spend 18 years in prison for murdering a 2-month-old girl last summer.

Sarah Leah Kortan, was sentenced Monday, for the death of her infant cousin. She was caring for Josephine Taylor Kortan while the baby’s mother was in prison.

On June 20, 2018, Kortan called 911 because the baby was not breathing and had turned purple while she was caring for her in her apartment in Red Lake Falls, according to a criminal complaint.

First responders said the baby didn’t have a pulse, wasn’t breathing and had white foam coming from her nose. A deputy began CPR on Josephine and she was transported to Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls. Kortan did not go with, court documents said.

Doctors were unable to resuscitate Josephine and told investigators she had little to no brain activity, which was possibly linked to shaken baby syndrome. She was flown to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo and placed on a ventilator to keep her alive, the criminal complaint said.

Josephine died June 22, shortly after she was removed from life support. Doctors said she was brain dead. Her autopsy determined the infant had multiple skull fractures, retinal hemorrhages and detachment in her eyes.

Kortan told investigators she dropped Josephine in the kitchen and the baby hit her head on the stove and floor, according to the complaint. She told a deputy “that she had killed her baby and it was all her fault,” the court document said.

According to the autopsy, Josephine’s injuries weren’t consistent with an accidental or short fall, but were more likely caused by “intentionally inflicted trauma.”

She pleaded guilty for unintentional second-degree murder in July. Kortan will serve her 18-year sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee.

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