Arizona police officer Brian Zach legally adopted the four-year-old girl he rescued from abusers while working on the child abuse case involving the child.
He was the on-duty patrol sergeant at Kingman Police Department when a call for a welfare check came for Kaila, then 2-years-old with severe injuries. Hearing about a battered toddler brought Lt. Zach back to painful, haunting memories of a 13-month-old homicide victim in 2011 that he failed to rescue.
“I didn’t get to save that girl. So Kaila was my second chance for that,” Lt. Zach said.
The Kaila case happened in March 2018. When Lt. Zach responded to the call from Kaila’s home, he found her with a fractured skull, dislocated elbow, and brain bleed. She was immediately flown to Las Vegas for treatment in a specialized hospital.
His felt deeply sorry for the little girl covered in bruises. “She had a very strong spirit about her,” he said. During the time of Kaila’s treatment, Lt. Zach was already plotting a way to get her back home.
The authorities took Kaila away from her home, from her biological parents. They were also unable to find kin to look after her. After some time, the authorities asked Lt. Zach if his family could consider being her placement home. The officer immediately said yes.
According to the Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services, fictive kinship occurs when children are placed with close family friends rather than family.
Things moved fast after they cleared the hurdles to ensure that his taking in Kaila would not jeopardize the criminal case against her abusers. They met on the weekend; she was at Lt. Zach’s home by Wednesday evening.
“We lived each week not knowing if she was going to go back to her biological parents or how long we were going to keep her,” Zach explained.
On August 18, 2020, after 30 months of fostering Kaila, they made their adoption official.
“When the judge basically said ‘Congratulations,’ I felt this huge sigh of relief, knowing that I’ll never have that worry again about her,” Zach said after the ruling. “She’ll always be with us, she’ll be loved, she’ll be cared for.”