Toddler girl burned to death, mom and boyfriend in custody: Police

A Virginia mother and her boyfriend are facing criminal charges after her 2-year-old daughter was reportedly found unresponsive and with burns on several parts of her body.

WAVY reported that the child was pronounced dead at a hospital after police and fire crews were called to the Norfolk home. Since then, the deceased girl’s mother, Shelby R. Love, 23, and her boyfriend, John Tucker Hardee, 33, have been charged with felony child abuse and neglect.

Police said that they’re investigating the April 24 incident as an undetermined death; a medical examiner will ascertain an exact cause of death, according to WTKR. Authorities haven’t revealed the deceased child’s name or how she suffered multiple burns.

Court records obtained by the Virginian-Pilot showed that Hardee pleaded guilty to strangulation and child neglect after his 13-month-old son sustained a skull fracture in 2013. At the time, Hardee’s then-girlfriend reportedly brought their injured son to the police station.

According to documents, the girlfriend claimed Hardee harmed her and their son. She said Hardee, a father-of-three, left behind a note saying he “smacked” the boy because he had eaten dog food and spilled his drink, the newspaper reported.

Virginia Beach commonwealth’s attorney spokeswoman Macie Allen told the Pilot that he was sentenced to three years in prison followed by 12 years’ probation. Allen said he was also ordered not to have contact with children while on probation unless Child Protective Services provides their approval.

Love and Hardee are being held without bond. They are due back in court Monday.

[Featured Image: Shelby Love, John Hardee/Norfolk Police Department]