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My Reason

In May 2012, two-year-old Koralynn Fister was tortured, raped and murdered by her mother’s boyfriend, James Reeder. Reeder initially reported that Koralynn drowned in the bathtub, but the autopsy revealed that Koralynn died of both drowning and blunt force trauma to the head and that she suffered prolonged physical and sexual abuse in the weeks leading up to her death. At the time, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said “In my legal career, this is the worst case of child abuse I’ve ever seen.”

Reeder pleaded guilty to rape and murder charges in relation to Koralynn and was sentenced to serve a minimum of 37½ years to life in prison. As part of his plea deal, he gave up the right to appeal his conviction.

Becky Heupel, Koralynn’s mother, was charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment for leaving Koralynn in the care of James Reeder, who systematically tortured and ultimately killed her young child. Detectives said Reeder manipulated and intimidated Heupel, who does have some developmental disabilities, but prosecutors said she knew right from wrong and should have done something after seeing some of the toddler’s injuries. Heupel pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal mistreatment and was sentenced to a year and one day in prison.

To learn about a community vigil held in honor of Koralynn please click here.


Koralynn Fister

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