CHRISTIANSBURG, VA (WDBJ/Gray News) - After an investigation into a 2-year-old’s death, police believe the toddler was a victim of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, and at least one other young child may have endured similar treatment, WDBJ reports.
Kayla Thomas, the mother of 2-year-old Steven Meek II, and her boyfriend, McKenzie Hellman, are both being held without bond at Western Virginia Regional Jail on charges related to the boy’s death.
Thomas faces charges of child neglect, possession and distribution of child pornography and forcible sodomy, among others. Hellman faces charges of felony murder, aggravated sexual battery of a child, child abuse and possession of child pornography, among others.
The case began with an investigation into alleged physical abuse of Steven. Paramedics responded to a call Jan. 11, where they found the 2-year-old with extreme injuries to his head.
“When I say brutal blunt force trauma, that’s exactly what I mean,” said Police Chief Mark Sisson at Friday’s press conference.
The toddler was flown to the hospital but died two days later.
Hellman told police the boy fell, but police and doctors say they suspected something else had happened.
“That he had been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of both McKenzie Hellman and Kayla Thomas,” Sisson said.
Sisson said he is not sure how long the alleged abuse had taken place. The case is expected to grow clearer in court.
“When that information comes out,” Sisson said. “It’s gonna shock the community.”
Police said Friday there is another juvenile victim in this case, whose identity they did not reveal. Sisson also confirmed Thomas is currently pregnant.
Officers are working with the commonwealth’s attorney to sort through the evidence, including numerous electronics seized from Hellman and Thomas' home. The department expects Hellman’s murder charge to be upgraded as the case continues.
Both Hellman and Thomas will appear in court in February.
The medical examiner’s office has yet to report their findings from Steven’s autopsy.