Police seize items in investigation

By Joe Beck

Woodstock police have seized more than 15 items from an apartment in Woodstock during their investigation into the death of an 18-month old boy last week, according to search warrant documents filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

Police executed three warrants at the residence of Nicole Dawn Miller, 135 Valley Vista Drive, on June 3 and 4. Miller, 25, was charged with child abuse and child endangerment after her arrest on June 3. Police have continued their investigation after the child she was caring for in the apartment died June 5.

One of the documents states that the search warrant was issued “to facilitate the charges of malicious wounding and child abuse.”

The list of items seized include a cell phone, digital camera, fleece blanket, hair fiber, and swabs from a television, crib, and wall. The inventory also includes swabs from red stains found in the bathroom and from unspecified stains found on a door, in a bedroom and under a crib.

A pillow, bed sheet, notebooks, and container with plant material were among other items listed.

The search warrant affidavits submitted by Woodstock investigator Derek Good state that police were called to the apartment at about 4:45 p.m. on June 3 to answer a call about an “unresponsive” boy.

They arrived to find the victim with “numerous bruises on his face and body that appeared suspicious,” Good wrote.

The document identifies Miller as the person who called 911. She told police that the boy was the son of her fiancée, according to the document. The affidavit also states Miller told police that she had been caring for the boy and her two children at the time of the incident.

Good’s affidavit states that Miller told him “there is video evidence” on her cell phone of the victim hitting himself.

Miller also told police that she believed the victim’s injury could have been caused by falling out of bed or that her son had pushed him while she was out of the room.

The affidavit states that the victim injured himself the week before “from hitting his face on the toilet and another injury to his face from hitting his head on the night stand.”

The affidavit also cites a statement from a doctor at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital who concluded that “in her opinion, these injuries were not self-inflicted or from another child of that age range.”

One of the search warrant documents also states that police investigators discovered red stains on bed sheets, a bed frame, the floor and clothing “in the area of the victim . . . where he sleeps.”

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