Father, stepmother sentenced to 40 years in death of 8-year-old Elk River girl

(KSTP) – Two people charged in connection to an 8-year-old Sherburne County girl’s death last year were each sentenced to four decades in prison on Thursday.

Brett Jason Hallow and Sarah Kay Hallow were each sentenced to 40 years (480 months) in prison, which is the maximum penalty and includes enhancements for "particular cruelty," KSTP’s Eric Rasmussen reports.

"The loss of a child is grievous; the loss of a child at the hands of two who were entrusted to care for that child is beyond comprehension," Sherburne County Attorney Kathleen Heaney said. "While there is no measure in the criminal justice system that accounts for the loss, I hope that the sentencing today will allow the family, friends, and community some modicum of comfort knowing that those whose acts led to the loss of A.H. were held accountable."

During a June court appearance, the Hallows admitted to beating and starving Autumn Hallow in the days and weeks before she ultimately died in the couple’s apartment on 172nd Avenue Northwest in Elk River.

In addition to pleading guilty to second-degree murder, Autumn’s father and stepmother pleaded guilty to several charges related to the abuse of Autumn’s brother and another child in the home as early as 2019.

Three months after her daughter’s death, Kelsey Kruse spoke publicly for the first time with hopes of bringing about changes to protect other children.

A review of public records, medical reports, photos and recordings obtained by 5 INVESTIGATES shows authorities were aware of

Those details are now at the center of a $30 million federal lawsuit filed by Kruse, against Sherburne County Child Protection, Elk River police and other mandated reporters accusing them of negligence and failing to intervene to protect her daughter.