Woman arrested in child abuse case

Toddler dies as a result of injuries sustained at his home on Monday night

By Joe Beck

WOODSTOCK — A 20-month-old Woodstock boy died at mid-afternoon Wednesday at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville as police investigated injuries he received Monday night at his home.

Police Chief Eric Reilley said he had spoken with hospital officials who confirmed the boy’s death. The child had been in critical condition and on life support since being taken to the hospital Monday evening, Reilley said.

Woodstock police charged Nicole Dawn Miller, 25, of 135 Valley Vista Drive, with child endangerment and child abuse before the boy died.

Reilley said he would be meeting with hospital officials, Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley, investigators and others on Thursday to determine what, if any, additional charges may be filed. He declined to release the name of the boy or describe any relationship Miller may have had with him.

Miller was being held without bond in the Shenandoah County Jail after a bond hearing on Tuesday.

Reilley reported that Miller was arrested at the apartment without incident.

Reilley said police were called to the scene by a caregiver at 5 p.m. Monday and that police administered CPR after finding the child “not breathing, not responsive” upon their arrival. Reilley declined to identify the caregiver.

The investigation is continuing, and Reilley said police are canvassing the neighborhood.

“We are going to follow every lead and call as many people as necessary,” he said, adding that “there’s no worse crime” than child abuse.

Reilley noted that there were two other children in the apartment at the time police arrived. Their ages are 17 months and 3 or 4 months, he said. They were removed from the home by child protective services and placed with other family members.

Iraida Torres lives across the hall from Miller. Torres said she looked after the two uninjured children in her apartment until they were taken away later in the evening by people she believed to be their grandparents.

Torres said her mother was the first to go over to the Miller apartment when her mother became concerned by the arrival of police across the hall. Torres then joined her mother and agreed to take care of the uninjured children so that Miller “could see what happened to the baby.”

Torres described a chaotic scene inside the apartment that frightened her and the two remaining children inside.

“I saw the police taking the baby and she [Miller] was like screaming the baby was unconscious,” Torres said.

“All I know is that the little boy’s father was crying,” Torres said. “They were all really scared.”

Torres said Miller told her that one of the injured boy’s brothers had pushed him out the window.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” Torres added.

Torres said she took the injured boy’s siblings into her apartment and waited until some people she believed were the grandparents came to pick them up.

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