Wytheville father continues push for justice as delays continue in his late toddler’s court case

TJ Mitchell is pushing for court to speed up the process after his daughter died in 2020

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Harper Mitchell loved her family more than anything.

She would’ve turned four this Saturday.

“She loved Christmas time, she loved the Grinch, she loved her brothers, " her father, TJ Mitchell said.

Harper passed away in 2020, Andrew Byrd of Radford and her mother Amanda Mitchell are both facing charges in relation to her death.

TJ invited 10 News to her memorial in Wytheville to share her story.

“I want justice for Harper. I want both the person that did it and the person that put Harper in the bad situation she was in, both of them, to pay for what they did,” TJ said.

Since Byrd and Amanda have been arrested, both their court cases have been continued more than a dozen times.

TJ says he has gotten little to no answers as to why.

“They’re not really giving me no reasons. They’re just saying, lawyers wanted to continue or courts continued or I’m not getting a direct answer,” TJ said.

He says he spoke with Radford’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehack and hasn’t gotten much insight into the case or the charges.

This is why TJ and his family are now pushing to create a bill in Harper’s memory, creating stricter guidelines for crimes involving children.

“We want more policies in place, stricter laws on it. Or more accountability for their actions as far as drug use with kids and stuff like that,” Mitchell said.

10 News has reached out to Rehack and attorneys involved in this case multiple times. We have not received a response.

But TJ says Harper’s family will not stop fighting until her case plays out in court so they can protect the lives of other children like her.

“I want justice for Harper, and we don’t need other kids in the same position as Harper,” Mitchell said.

Both Byrd and Amanda are set to have their next court appearances in March 2022.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.