Abuse victim suffered severe injuries

By Joe Beck

A police investigator’s report states that an abused 18-month-old boy who died Wednesday at University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville suffered from “extreme head trauma and internal injury to the pelvic region.”

The report filed by Woodstock Investigator Derek Good in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court states that a doctor reported on the boy’s injuries after she examined him at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital on Monday night.

Good’s report states that the doctor who examined the boy also found “new and old bruising to the entire face and head and bruising to both arms that resembled straps across the arms.”

The defendant in the case, Nicole Dawn Miller, 25, of 135 Valley Vista Drive, Woodstock, is being held without bond on charges of child abuse and child endangerment. Authorities are considering additional charges against her since the child’s death.

Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reiley said he is withholding release of the victim’s name and his relationship, if any, with Miller, while authorities continue their investigation. Reiley said he may have more details after a meeting with Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley on Friday.

“We’re just trying to protect the integrity of the investigation and not get ahead of the investigators,” Reiley said.

Good’s report states that Miller told police that she is engaged to the victim’s father, Jeremy Vermillion, who was at work at the time his son was injured Monday.

The report states Miller was in her apartment caring for Vermillion’s son and her two biological children at the time of the incident around 5 p.m. Monday. Police have said the other two children in the apartment with the victim are ages 17 months and 4 months.

Miller told police that the victim and her son were playing on a small toddler bed when she left the room for about 20 minutes to feed her younger child, according to the court document.

Miller gave police the following account, according to Good’s report:

She heard a thump and the victim scream about 20 minutes after leaving the room. Upon returning to the room, she found the victim lying on his back by the toddler bed and breathing abnormally.

Miller said she called 911. She told police after their arrival that she suspected the victim either fell from the bed or her son had pushed him.

“The toddler’s bed is only six inches off the ground,” Good wrote.

Police arriving at the scene found the victim “unresponsive” with many bruises about his face and body that they deemed suspicious, according to the report.

Good wrote that Miller told him the bruises could have come from the victim and her son fighting.

“Miller also said that last week (the victim) got an injury to his face from hitting his face on toilet and another injury to his face from hitting his head on the nightstand” Good wrote.

But Good also reported that the doctor who examined the victim later at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital said she suspected child abuse.

The report states that the doctor told Good that “in her professional opinion, there is no way that these injuries were self-inflicted or from another child of that age range.”

Good’s report also states that Miller explained to him and a representative of the county Department of Social Services that bruises discovered on the victim’s chest may have come when she pushed too hard while performing CPR on him earlier in the evening.

“When Miller called 911, she advised that she did not want to do CPR,” Good wrote. “During my initial interview with Miller, she explained how the entire incident occurred in detail; however she never mentioned performing CPR.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com