Lieutenant Brian Zach of the Kingman Police Department in Arizona recognized the telltale signs of child neglect and abuse on the night he met Kaila back in March 2018. “I went there and realized that her injuries were definitely abuse, and they needed to be investigated,” he said to ABC11 reporters.
Indeed, records indicated officers responded to the home where the toddler had been living on at least two previous occasions. On that night, Zach brought Kaila back to the station while they waited for Child Protective Services to arrive. In that short period of time, he bonded with the child.
“We colored, we snacked … she held my hand, and she was just this cute little thing,” Zach said. “Once detectives came, they picked her up and took her to the hospital.”
Most cops admit the sting of child abuse cases stick with them, but the thing that stuck with Zach the most was the connection he made with Kaila. So much so that when CPS informed him the agency couldn’t secure a new home for Kaila, Zach and his wife, Cierra, instantly agreed to become her foster parents.
“She came with a bag of clothes that didn’t fit her and a sippy cup, and that was it. We had to get a bed. We had to get a highchair, potty chair,” recalled the father of two teenagers.
Fortunately, Kaila quickly acclimated to her new family.
“Within the second day, she was calling my wife ‘mom’ or ‘mommy.’ I was ‘guy’ for a week or two, and then when she started preschool, she learned who dad was,” Zach said on Good Morning America.
Although fostering often is a temporary arrangement, the Zach family became Kaila’s official family last summer when her adoption was finalized at Mohave County Superior Court in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Kingman Chief of Police Rusty Cooper told GMA, “Lieutenant Brian Zach’s commitment to public safety is exemplified in his commitment and love for Kaila. Both Brian and his wife, Cierra, are amazing parents. They are committed to the service of others and a cause that is greater than themselves. We are proud of Brian and thankful that he and his family are part of the Kingman Police Department.”
“The best thing to come out of 2020 is the fact that we gained an official member of our family,” Zach said.
“I love him, I love him so much,” added Kaila, who is now 4 years old.
Her previous caregivers have been criminally charged.