Crime and Public Safety

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From Roanoke Police: On January 18, 2019 just after 4:30 pm Roanoke Police responded to a report of a Bank Robbery in the 2000 block of Colonial Ave SW. Officers were advised that an adult male entered the bank with his face covered. The subject declared his intentions of robbery. The subject subsequently left the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. This incident is currently being investigated. More information will be released when it is available. Roanoke Police do not believe there is any immediate danger to the community in regard to this event. If you have any information about this incident, you’re asked to call us at (540)334-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

McKenzie Hellman (WVRJ photo)

Kayla Thomas (WVRJ photo)

Steven Meek II

The mother of two-year-old Steven Meek II, who recently died from unspecified injuries in Christiansburg, has now been charged with more crimes including sodomy and the production of child pornography. She is 25-year-old Kayla Thomas. Police say the investigation into the death shows a history of both physical and sexual abuse. The man who was watching the boy and reported he was injured, McKenzie Hellman, now faces a felony murder charge.


News release: On Friday, Jan. 11, at about 9:15 p.m., Christiansburg Police and Christiansburg Rescue responded to call in reference to child who had fallen and was unresponsive at a residence at 430 Zinc Lane.

Upon arrival, Christiansburg Police Officer Aaron Lusk found 25-year-old male McKenzie Kyle Hellman seated on the living room floor next to an unresponsive child, later identified as two-year-old Steven Dale Meek II. At the time of the incident, Hellman resided at the residence on Zinc Lane with Steven and Steven’s mother, Kayla Thomas, 25. Hellman is Thomas’ boyfriend, and is not related to her son, Steven. Thomas was at work at the time of the call.

Shortly after Officer Lusk’s arrival, members of Christiansburg Rescue arrived, and, along with Officer Lusk, began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the child. CPR was performed for about 25 minutes before a pulse was detected. Steven was transported by ambulance to LewisGale Hospital Montgomery and later airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

While treating Steven, medical personnel, including a forensic nurse, discovered bruising and injuries that did not appear to be consistent with the preliminary information that the child had fallen from a toddler bed or crib. A criminal investigation began and ultimately revealed evidence indicating that Steven had been the victim of physical abuse. As a result, on Sunday, Jan. 13, McKenzie Hellman was arrested and charged with one count of felony child abuse.

Medical evaluation at Roanoke Memorial revealed minimal brain activity, and Steven was placed on life support in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. At about 7:40 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, Steven Meek II, died.

Preliminary forensic evidence indicates Steven died from extreme blunt force trauma to the head, but the medical examiner’s official report has not yet been returned. Christiansburg Police detectives discovered evidence indicating Steven was not only the victim of physical abuse that resulted in his injuries on Jan. 11, but also the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of both McKenzie Hellman and his mother, Kayla Thomas.

As a result of the evidence discovered in the investigation, on Thursday, Jan. 17, McKenzie Hellman was charged with the following felonies:

  • 18.2-33 – Felony murder (Felony murder is when the victim accidentally dies during the commission of another felony. The other felony in this case is child abuse. With regards to this charge, the investigation is continuing, and it is likely this charge will be upgraded as the investigation progresses.)
  • 18.2-67.3 – Aggravated sexual battery of a child less than 13 years of age (2 counts). (The second charge is for the battery of another victim whose name is not being released at this time.)
  • 18.2-374.3 – Solicitation of a minor less than 15 years of age for sexual purposes
  • 18.2-67.2/18.2-18 – Accessory to inanimate object sexual penetration of a person less than 13 years of age
  • 18.2-67.1/18.2-18 – Accessory to forcible sodomy by engaging in fellatio with a child less than 13 years of age
  • 18.2-374.1:1 – Possession of child pornography
  • 18.2-374.1:1/18.2-18 – Accessory before the fact to distribution of child pornography
  • 18.2-374.1:1/18.2-18 – Accessory before the fact to production of child pornography
  • 18.2-371.1 – Child abuse (*charged on Jan. 13)

Kayla Thomas was charged on Wednesday, Jan. 16, with the following felonies:

  • 18.2-67.1 – Forcible sodomy by engaging in fellatio against the victim’s will by force, threat or intimidation
  • 18.2-67.2 – Inanimate object penetration of a person less than 13 years of age
  • 18.2-374.1 – Production of child pornography involving a child less than 15 years of age
  • 18.2-374.1:1 – Possession and distribution of child pornography
  • 18.2-371.1 – Being a parent or guardian, committing a willful act so gross and wanton as to show a reckless disregard for human life – Child neglect

Both Hellman and Thomas are being held without bond at Western Virginia Regional Jail.

“We are fortunate to live in a community where violent crime is rare,” Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson said. “However, that same good fortune makes it all the more shocking when things like this happen in our community. We can only imagine the pain felt by the loved ones of Steven Meek II, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.”

Preliminary forensic evidence indicates Steven died from extreme blunt force trauma to the head, but the medical examiner’s official report has not yet been returned. Christiansburg Police detectives discovered evidence indicating Steven was not only the victim of physical abuse that resulted in his injuries on Jan. 11, but also the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of both McKenzie Hellman and his mother, Kayla Thomas.

Jody Mullins (Left)        Roger Anderson ( Right)

From Franklin County Sheriff’s Office: On 1/3/2019, Investigators with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation in to the illegal distribution of narcotics in the 3000 block of Retreat Rd. A search warrant was executed at that location which led to the seizure of Heroin and Methamphetamine as well as the arrests of both Anderson and Mullins. Anderson was arrested for possession with intent to distribute Schedule 1 narcotics and Mullins was picked up on outstanding contempt of court warrants. Both Anderson and Mullins are currently being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond. The case is currently under investigation and additional charges may be pending.

We know more now about the Salem school bus driver who reported being attacked yesterday morning while on his route. It turns out police have since arrested HIM for assaulting a 17-year-old girl the day before. 70-year-old Johnny Couch is free on bond. Police say the assault happened outside the teen’s workplace, and the girl was not injured.

From Salem Police: The Salem Police Department has made an arrest in connection to an incident involving a 70-year-old male and a female under the age of 17. On Monday, January 14, Salem Police Detectives received a call from an adult female who said that her daughter had been assaulted by an adult male while the girl was at work. The mom told officers that her daughter was under the age of 17 and that she knew the man in question. The girl told officers that the man came to her workplace, located in the 1500 block of West Main Street, and approached her outside the business while she was on break. The girl said the man motioned for her to come toward him. After the incident took place in the parking lot, she went back inside the business and notified her mother. The girl was not injured, and she did not require any medical attention. The suspect was identified as Johnny P. Couch, 70, of Roanoke and Wednesday afternoon he was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Couch Was taken to the Roanoke County/Salem magistrate where he was released on an unsecured bond. Couch is the same individual who was taken to LewisGale Medical Center on Tuesday, January 15, after suffering injuries while driving a school bus.

Theodore Moberg (BCSO photo)

A former Glenvar High School girls’ basketball coach has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and jail records report Theodore Moberg was arrested Friday for an incident that allegedly occurred in Bedford County in early December. Moberg coached at Glenvar for five years until 2017.

From the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office: The following subject was arrested on January 11th, 2019 in connection with an ongoing Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. Theodore Moberg, 40 years of age, of Vinton VA, was arrested by Bedford County Sheriff’s Office investigators assigned to the Southern Internet Crimes Against Children’s Task Force with the assistance of the Town of Bedford Police Department on the following charges: (1) count of Use of a communication device to facilitate certain offenses involving children and  (1) count of Indecent liberties with a minor. This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with any information about this case is asked to call The Southern Internet Crimes Against Children’s Task Force at 434-534-9521.

(From Virginia State Police) At 8:51 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 12, 2019), Virginia State Police Trooper J.L. Simone responded to a three-vehicle crash at the 90 mile marker in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Pulaski County. A 1991 Oshkosh M1074 (military surplus vehicle) was traveling south on I-81 when its driver lost control due to the slick road conditions. The vehicle was then struck by two southbound tractor-trailers. The M1074 and one of the tractor-trailers came to rest in the median. The impact of the crash caused the other tractor-trailer to run off left side of the highway, continue through the median, through the guardrail, cross over northbound lanes of I-81 and strike a fence.

The driver of the M1074, Ronald W. Harris, 73, of Gainesville, Ga., did not survive the crash and died at the scene. Each tractor-trailer driver [no names released] was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The Virginia State Police Wytheville Division’s Crash Reconstruction Team has responded to the scene to assist with the ongoing crash investigation.

WFIR photo

(update 6:20 pm) SALEM – The Virginia Department of Transportation has made good progress today on plowing and treating roads throughout western Virginia. Interstates and primary routes are in clear to minor condition, which means they are mostly clear with isolated slick spots.  Today, crews have been treating secondary roads (those numbered 600 and above) and neighborhood streets but icy patches are remaining.  Many of these routes have been plowed or treated, but crews will continue working tonight and into tomorrow.

Equipment operators have been pushing slushy areas where possible, plowing snow on routes where it accumulated, and treating icy roads with salt and abrasives.  Crews also have been responding to downed trees on roadways. Heavy equipment is being used on mountaintop routes and other colder areas to remove frozen slush and ice from locations where it has bonded to roadways. 

Refreezing is a concern tonight and into tomorrow as any wet roads will become icy as temperatures fall well below freezing overnight.  Drivers should not expect bare pavement as icy patches remain on plowed and treated roads and wet areas will refreeze overnight.


On 1/3/19, members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit began an investigation in to a wanted subject that was posing as an “escort” on social media. Investigators established communication with the subject and arranged for a meeting. Investigators made contact with Tabitha Danielle Amos [of Wirtz] who was currently wanted on outstanding charges [including possession of a controlled substance, felony endangerment]. Amos was arrested on the outstanding charges and is currently being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond. The case is currently under investigation and additional charges may be pending.


HURT, Va. (AP) — Authorities in Virginia believe a man fatally shot his wife and their 12-year-old son before killing himself. The Pittsylvania Sheriff’s Office found three people dead inside a home Friday night. The Danville Register & Bee reports that investigators on Saturday identified the bodies as 44-year-old Jason Davis, 42-year-old Twana Rhodes Davis and their 12-year-old son. Two other women were hospitalized after being shot. They have not been identified.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor says the boy’s body was found in what appeared to be a bedroom. He says the two adults were found in the kitchen. The shooting took place in the town of Hurt, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Roanoke.

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