Christiansburg 2-year-old victim of physical, sexual abuse prior to death

Steven Meek II (Christiansburg Police)

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Christiansburg Police held a conference Friday announcing additional charges against a man involved in the death of a 2-year-old boy.

Police charged McKenzie Hellman with felony murder in the death of Steven Dale Meek II. Now, he is facing multiple charges for child sex crimes.

Christiansburg Chief of Police Mark Sisson says they received a call last Friday that a boy had fallen and was unresponsive.

On Sunday, Steven died. Now police say their investigation showed the cause of death to be brutal blunt force trauma to the head and uncovered an even more horrifying history.

“Friday night officer Aaron Lust, the first responder to the call, arrived to find an adult male, McKenzie Kyle Hellman age 25, seated on the floor next to the unresponsive child," Chief Sisson said today at a press conference.

Chief Sisson said they found the cause of death to actually be "brutal blunt force trauma to the head." Hellman was originally charged with child neglect, but that has since been upgraded to felony murder.

Chief Sisson said from examinations by forensic nurses and evidence they found during their investigation, they found disturbing evidence of more abuse.

"Steven was not only the victim of physical abuse that resulted in his injuries on January 11 but also that he had been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of both McKenzie Hellman and his mother Kayla Thomas," Chief Sisson said.

Police said they found another child in the home that was also being sexually abused.

McKenzie Hellman is Kayla Thomas's boyfriend, but police say he is not Steven's father. They say Hellman has another child, but did not say if they were the second alleged victim.

Thomas does not have any other children, but is currently pregnant.

Daniel Rector lives right behind Hellman’s home. He claims that Hellman is a friend of the family. He said Thomas has been living there for a while, but that he'd never seen any children outside the house.

“I'd never seen the boy I didn’t know that girl at all," Rector told ABC13.

McKenzie Hellman's charges include:

  • Felony murder
  • Aggravated sexual battery of a child less than 13 years of age (two counts)
  • Solicitation of a minor less than 15 years of age 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 person less than 13 years of age
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Accessory before the fact to distribution of child pornography
  • Accessory before the fact to production of child pornography
  • Child abuse.

Kayla Thomas' charges include:

  • Forcible sodomy by engaging in fellatio against the victim's will by force, threat or intimidation
  • Inanimate object sexual penetration of a person less than 13 years of age
  • Production of child pornography involving a child less than 15 years of age
  • Possession and distribution 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

Chief Sisson said it’s likely that Hellman’s felony murder charge could be upgraded.

They said the other child’s case has been handed over to child protective services.

“Children are our most vulnerable citizens and our job everyday is to protect them and when they can’t speak for themselves that’s our job and we’re absolutely going to do that," Chief Sisson said.

Hellman and Thomas are both being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond.

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