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Hearing reveals alleged abuse New River Valley toddler faced before his death

Man faces six felony counts in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va.Warning: Some may find details revealed during Friday’s hearing disturbing.

Friday’s preliminary hearing revealed shocking new details about the alleged murder and abuse of a New River Valley toddler.

McKenzie Hellman, 26, is facing six felony counts in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, Steven Meek II.

McKenzie Hellman and Kayla Thomas
McKenzie Hellman and Kayla Thomas

Explicit text messages and photos of the alleged sexual and physical abuse were admitted into evidence, detailing what police say happened the day Steven was allegedly murdered.

[Christiansburg man accused of killing girlfriend’s toddler son deemed fit to stand trial]

Cameras were not allowed in court as Hellman faced a judge and the victim’s family members.

During the hearing, a 911 call from Hellman on January 11, 2019, was played.

What really stood out during the proceedings was what was found on Hellman’s phone afterward.

When police confiscated it, they said they found a photo of a sexual act being performed on Steven. Hellman later admitted to police that he asked Steven’s mother, Kayla Thomas, to send him the photo because he was “exploring the extent of his sexual needs.”

[Boyfriend charged with murder, he and mother sexually abused 2-year-old, police say]

Officers also found messages from Hellman to Thomas asking her for sexual videos of her with Steven.

The medical examiner said Steven died from blunt force trauma to the head. Steven had scratch marks and bruises all over his head and body, as well as hemorrhaging near his brain and spine, according to the medical examiner.

Hellman originally claimed the Steven fell from the bed while playing, but the medical examiner said that there’s no way that a fall onto a carpeted floor would have caused such serious injuries.

Thomas is also facing abuse charges.

Hellman’s grand jury trial starts on Jan. 28, 2020.


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