Jayla Michelle Haag Watters
September 19, 2010 - March 30, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

When I think about my own son, when he was growing up and how I would have protected him with my own life against ANYONE who tried to hurt him, my heart is sad for those children whose mothers and fathers offered them up to an abuser and allowed them to suffer in the most horrible ways and eventually be killed.

Jayla Haag was one of those children. Alyssa Haag was dating Justin Edwards and he tortured and beat Jayla so much that she ended up on life support which was eventually removed and she died. Jayla's little body was covered in bruises and scars and six of her teeth had been forcibly removed from her mouth, Jayla also had burn marks on her body and sores inside of her mouth. A Coroner, Dr. Jamie Oeberst, said that she died from blunt force trauma as a result of child abuse. Justin and Alyssa were arrested and charged with her murder. Jayla's growth in the six months before her death had declined as evidenced by the fact that she was suffering from malnutrition.

A roommate testified that she would hear things hit the wall any time she heard Jayla crying and she would hear sounds of someone choking, gasping for air, then silence. Jennifer Davis said that whenever she actually SAW the couple discipline Jayla, it was only a swat on her bottom. Jennifer told the Judge that she often saw Justin and Alyssa using Meth amphetamine in the home when Jayla was there, but she was not in the room and that at one point, Jayla had tested positive for Meth, though Alyssa had never told Justin about it.

In June of 2012, a Detective who had been investigating the case told the Judge that Alyssa had changed her story about what had happened to Jayla, several times. Detective Chris Jones said that Alyssa at first said that Jayla had been having seizures due to having fallen down the stairs. Alyssa later said that Justin had been the one to injure Jayla by biting her on the face and squeezing her chin because she would not stop crying, Alyssa told Police that she told Justin to stop hurting her daughter.

Alyssa said that on the night Jayla was taken to the hospital, Justin had been smoking Meth with Jayla in the room. Chris Jones said that Justin admitted to smoking Meth in the home but he said he never did it with Jayla in the room and he noted that Justin would never say Jayla's name, he always referred to her as "that baby" or "that f***ing baby".

The Department For Children And Families had tried to get custody of Jayla, but they were not able to do it. On October 17, 2011, an affidavit was filed with the Butler County Attorney's Office stating that they were seeking custody of Jayla Haag. It was thought at the time that the agency didn't have enough evidence to remove Jayla from the home and she was left in the hands of two people who cared more about drugs and themselves than they did her. In a law- suit filed by Attorney Randy Rathbun, it was said that the agency had not done enough to protect Jayla:

"Here, there's all this evidence that was stacked up and for some reason nothing was happening"

Attorney Darrin Devinney didn't agree and said that the decision not to remove Jayla was the right one:

"I would have made the same call. I believe it was responsible to make, based on
information at that time. Do I feel terrible that we didn't have grounds to take this
child into protective custody? Absolutely. But we can't forecast abuse or homicide.
There was just a lack of sufficient evidence. It appears that things went down hill
rather quickly and extremely dramatically"

And yet, with that lack of evidence there is another child dead because someone didn't do their job correctly. ALWAYS err on the side of the child. If you take them away and it wasn't necessary, then that can be fixed, you can't fix things once a child is dead. DEAD IS FOREVER on this Earth, though Jayla is once again alive in Heaven, she left this world too soon because she was not protected the way she should have been.

In September of 2012, a Judge dismissed the charge of first degree murder against 28 year old Justin Edwards because an autopsy had not been completed at that time, though it was possible that the charge would be refilled when the autopsy report was complete and a cause of death was announced. Justin was in prison on a drug charge at the time and it was said that before he got out, there would be plenty of time to investigate and refile the charge.

In July of 2013, 24 year old Alyssa Haag plead guilty to reckless involuntary manslaughter and was given a sickening sentence of only 31 months in prison. Alyssa was said to be upset when the sentence was read. Too bad Alyssa wasn't upset when she allowed a man to torture and kill an innocent little Angel! Sadly, Alyssa could be out as early as March of 2015. The Judge said:

"I can't imagine what it's like to live everyday with the loss of a baby daughter. A loss that
you have to live with. I can't imagine the pain. The reason you're here facing sentencing for
a felony involuntary manslaughter charge is because you didn't do what you needed to do as
a mother to protect and care for your baby, because of that she died. A true tragedy"
Chief Judge David Ricke

What does that even mean? She didn't LOSE a child, she's not lost, she's dead and Alyssa helped to make that happen. Her only regret is that now SHE will do prison time, though not nearly enough.

"Alyssa failed Jayla in the worst way possible. She has robbed my family as well as her
own of the joys of watching a beautiful girl grow up"
Stacy Louise - Paternal Great Aunt

"A lot of accusations against Alyssa about her being a monster are not true. Alyssa needs help.
She needs counseling to help her with the demons she has"
Marci Beattie

Sorry, Marci, your daughter IS a monster who allowed her child to suffer for her own needs, wants and selfishness.

In July of 2014, a Judge dismissed the lawsuit brought against the Department Of Children And Families. Judge William Woolley wrote:

"Kansas law does not impose on child welfare agencies an independent duty in the investigation
of child abuse. And because there is no duty, or legal obligation, there can be no claim of negligence
against the state child protection agency"

DCF Spokeswoman Theresa Freed was happy about the decision:

"Any death of a child is a tragedy and our hearts go out to those mourning the loss of a child.
DCF takes seriously it's responsibility to protect children"

It doesn't sound to me like they do, it sounds to me like a Judge just gave DCF an out for ANY time a child dies. If DCF is not there to help and protect children, what are they getting paid to do?

Randy Rathbun had filed the lawsuit on behalf of Jayla's biological father and he said he would appeal the decision. Jayla's paternal grandmother was upset and thought the laws needed to be changed:

"Because there's going to be more babies like Jayla. There's going to be more tragedies"
Wendi Vittitow

Today is July 19, 2014 and I am unable to find any information about Justin being prosecuted or held responsible in ANY way, for his actions.

By Julie Clements
Posted Oct. 25, 2012 @ 2:00 pm
El Dorado, Kan.

Family and friends donated more than $1,600 to the Jayla M. Haag-Watters Memorial Fund through private donations and fundraisers following Jayla’s death in March of this year.

The family of Jayla decided to donate that money to the Sunlight Children’s Advocacy and Rights Foundation. They presented a check for $1,661.63 in Jayla’s memory to SCARF Tuesday afternoon.


El Dorado, Kan.

Jayla Michelle Haag Watters, the 18-month-old daughter of Tyler Watters and Alyssa Haag, died March 30, 2012 at Wesley Medical Center. The celebration of her life will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the First Christian Church in ElDorado.

Jayla was born Sept. 19, 2010 in El Dorado. She was a very loving child. Surviving family include: father, Tyler Watters; mother, Alyssa Haag; brothers, Payten Watters and Riley Ayers;  grandparents, Marci   Beattie (Michael) Torres, Joe (Desiree) Haag, Steve (Marie) Watters and Wendi Britt; great-grandparents, Brian and Sue Beattie, and Butch and Sharon Haag; and great-great-grandparent, Alene Daniel.

Memorials have been set for Jayla at either Verus Bank or the Kirby-Morris Funeral Home.

UPDATE: August 25, 2014

On August 22, 2014, Justin Edwards, who was 31 years old by this time, was arrested and charged with first degree murder for the death of Jayla. It has been over two years since she died and FINALLY they have arrested him. Let's hope and pray that it sticks this time!

Amanda Moffit, who is a co-founder of the group "Justice For Jayla" said:

"It makes you sad because you have to go through it again and you have to relive everything
that has already happened"

Amanda had been best friends with Jayla's mother for many years:

"She was the most amazing little girl I ever knew. I mean, jayla was a really big part of my life.
and I don't think a lot of people realize how hurtful it is for her not to be here any more. I'm on
Jayla's side. She deserves justice. Nobody should have ever hurt her the way they did. They
way she lived for the last six months of her life was not right"

Justin was facing a life sentence and a preliminary hearing was set for October 1, 2014.

Thank you Shanon for your continuous help in keeping the stories updated on this site.

UPDATE: January 28, 2015

In January of 2015, Justin Edwards plead no contest to charges that included involuntary manslaughter. A report said that while the charge was being read, Justin was wiping tears from his eyes. Justin was 31 years old by this time and and standing before Judge David Ricke, he learned that his sentencing hearing would take place on March 12, 2015.

David Moses, a court appointed Defense Lawyer for Justin said that if things go as he thinks they will, Justin will face a sentence of nine and half years in prison with Justin being given credit for the time he had been in jail and good behavior. Darrin Devinney, the Prosecutor said that the sentence could be in the range any where from three years to 28 years, though the plea agreement would allow for less time.

The Judge would make the final decision after consider the sentencing guidelines and rulings from higher court. Consideration would also have to be made because Justin has a criminal history that includes a felony drug possession and intent to sell conviction:

"This has been a daunting case since March of 2012 when Jayla
Suffered the injuries. It's deeply affected the entire community
and it's always been my goal to make sure justice is served"
Darrin Devinney

"Jayla's dead and she's not coming back. That's that sad part about t
he whole case. She was the only innocent person in this whole case.
There's no reason for her to have died, that a defenseless baby is dead,
clearly a bad decision and acts by many others"
David Moses

Darrin Devinney told the Judge that the basis for the new charges under the plea agreement included the fact that Jayla died of complications that were related to blunt force trauma injuries to her head and that Alyssa had seen Justin squeeze Jayla's chest so hard that she became incapacitated and then slapped her in the face and told her to "shut the f**k up then telling Alyssa not to get her the medical help she needed.

Reading this update reminds me that Alyssa could be out of prison in just a couple of months. How sad!

UPDATE: January 2017

I found this information while searching for an update:

KDOC Phusical Location History(s)

Location Movement Date: Movement Reason
Sedgwick County Mar 27, 2015 In-State Post Release
Sedgwick County Dec 16, 2015 DOC Warrant Issued
Butler County Feb 19, 2016 DOC Warrant Issued
Topeka CF-Central Feb 25, 2016 Parole Viol. No New Sentence
Sedgwick County June 24, 2016 In-State Post Release

Death occurred in the state of Kansas
This page was created on July 29, 2014

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