Roanoke Co., VA – A man is grieving the death of his 13-month-old daughter, and police say her mother's boyfriend killed her.
Preston King, 27, of Roanoke County is charged with two child abuse-related felonies and is being held without bond.
The father from Lynchburg says he has been trying for months to see his daughter Veralee Craft to no avail. He says since the child's mother took on King as a boyfriend some three months ago, access to his daughter dried up, and now he feels he knows why.
At just 13-months old, Veralee couldn't really understand why her parents weren't together anymore and probably didn't even realize just how far away her daddy was.
Living in Lynchburg, with the mother having full custody of the girl in Roanoke, Jonathan Craft could only try to help his daughter the best he could.
"For the last three months, I contacted her family almost every day. I sent the police out to do well being checks, and I still had no idea what was going on with my daughter," said Craft.
It wouldn't be enough. On Sunday, an ambulance rushed Veralee to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital after a call came in that the child wasn't breathing.
"I saw my daughter lying in a hospital bed with bruises all over her face. She had a busted up nose... skull fractures. Her eyes were red and puffy. She just she didn't look good," said Craft.
Roanoke County Police say the child was in the care of King. It's King who is now charged with abuse with more severe charges pending.
The worst part, according to Craft, is that investigators told him Veralee had suffered significant injuries in the past that were all healing at different rates: A broken arm, two broken legs and more.
"I've been trying to find out what's been going on with my daughter and to come and find out she's been hidden from me because this stuff has been going on," said Craft.
Roanoke City police confirm that they received two calls for a welfare check on Veralee this month. On one call, the responding officer checked the child and saw no signs of abuse.
On the second call, police were told Veralee was visiting other family and was unavailable.
Ironically, following those welfare checks, Craft says a protective order was taken out against him.