Court documents reveal boyfriend’s criminal past as loved ones remember two-year-old killed in Norfolk

Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 16:03:39-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A memorial now stands outside of the Norfolk home where a two-year-old girl died Tuesday morning.

The memorial was put up by teachers and staff of the daycare facility where the child was cared for.

"I had so many emotions," explained Cheytoria Good, the daycare's Assistant Director. "I was hurt, I was heartbroken, I was frustrated I just couldn’t understand to this day I cannot wrap my head around it."

Norfolk Police say they were called to the home on 20th Bay Street in the Ocean View section of the city around 3:30 Tuesday morning. They say the child had  burns all over her body. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. A shock to those who cared for the child.

"Since we found out the whole staff has just kind of been numb. It has been a trying week for us. We are really just trying to wrap our heads around it because it's ridiculous and crazy," said Good.

Shelby Love, the child's mother and John Tucker Hardee, the mother's boyfriend, have both been charged with felony child neglect and abuse. According to court paperwork, this is not the first time Hardee has been charged with child neglect and abuse.

In 2014, Hardee pleaded guilty to strangulation and child neglect and abuse. According to court documents, Hardee hit his child in the head multiple times, resulting in a fracture to the child's skull. During the same incident he strangled his girlfriend. Hardee was sentenced to three-years-behind bars and was not supposed to have contact with minors until Child Protective Services gives approval.

Good says none of the teachers at the daycare facility noticed obvious signs of abuse, but now they are second guessing themselves.

"I think that is what hurts us the most because we didn’t see any signs and now we sit back and we like was it something that we missed were we over looking things? She was quiet at times was she trying to tell us something?"

Now they are trying to remember the good times, instead of the tragic way the toddler died.

"She was just the happiest kid, always smiling, never any issues with her. She was just a sweet little girl, everyone that she came in contact with just loved her," said Good.

Those who knew the child have created a Go Fund Me page to cover funeral costs.

Love and Hardee are being held at the Norfolk City Jail without bond. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, April 30.

Click here for full coverage on the death of Harley Rae Williams