A 2-year-old who died in Christiansburg last weekend was murdered, authorities said Friday morning.
“Children in our community are absolutely, they’re cherished, They are individuals without voice and many times in those situations, and situations like we have encountered this week, it’s our job to be their voice and we will absolutely be their voice, be this young man’s voice throughout the continuation of this investigation, through the prosecution,” said Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson.
Authorities believe the child died of “brutal blunt force trauma”.
“Our detectives continued with their investigation in the cause of Steven’s death and ultimately uncovered evidence indicating that Steven was not only the victim of physical abuse that resulted in his injuries on January the 11th but also that he had been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of both McKenzie Hellman and his mother, Kayla Thomas,” said Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson.
Police describe what happened to 2-year-old Steven Dale Meek II as “horrific”. Officers said the community will be shocked when they learn of the details.
The Christiansburg Police Department announced Friday, Steven was a victim of not only physical abuse but also sexual abuse at the hands of his mother Kayla Thomas and her boyfriend McKenzie Hellman. Hellman reportedly lived in the same mobile home as Thomas and her son.
“We are very fortunate in this community where violent crime is rare. The same good fortune makes it all the more shocking when events like this happen within our community. What happened to this innocent child can only be described as horrific and we can only imagine the pain felt by the loved ones of Steven Meek and our hearts and prayers go out to the families involved,” said Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson.
Thomas and Hellman face a slew of charges.
Hellman is charged with felony murder, 2 counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child, solicitation of a minor less than 15 years old for sexual purposes, accessory to inanimate object sexual penetration of a person less than 13 years of age, accessory to forcible sodomy by engaging in fellatio with a child less than 13 years of age, possession of child pornography, two counts of accessory before the fact to distribution of child pornography, and child abuse.
Kayla Thomas was charged Wednesday with the following: forcible sodomy by engaging in fellatio against the victim’s will by force, threat, or intimidation, inanimate object penetration of a person less than 13 years of age, possession of child pornography, being a parent or guardian, committing a willful act so gross and wanton as to show a reckless disregard for human life-child neglect.
Christiansburg police were called to the 400 block of Zinc Lane on January 11 because a caller said a child had fallen and was unresponsive.
First responders performed CPR on the toddler for 25 minutes before they found a pulse. The 2-year-old was taken to LewisGale Hospital Montgomery and then airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
He was put on life support and died a few days later on Sunday, January 13.
Medical professionals reported to police they found bruising and other injuries on the toddler that didn’t match up with the initial report that the boy had fallen from a bed.
According to authorities, Thomas is pregnant.
Hellman and Thomas are being held without bond at Western Virginia Regional Jail.
According to NRVNews.com, Meek’s memorial service will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. on January 19 at the Bower Funeral Home-Chapel in Pulaski.
Watch the Christiansburg Police Department press conference about the incident here: