Disturbing Details in 3-Year-Old Murder Case

VISALIA, Calif. On Friday, a judge determined there was enough evidence to charge 26-year-old Ryann Jones for murdering his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in the couple's apartment complex in March of last year.

Many friends and relatives of little Natalynn Miller, who Visalia detectives believe was killed at the hands of Jones, wept as they heard the coroner's descriptions.

"When you're dealing with a case where a child is a victim it's extremely emotional for everybody involved not only the victim's family but even the defendant's family," said Asst. District Attorney Shani Jenkins.

In total, Dr. Burr Hartman identified more than 32 bruises from photos he took during Natalynn's autopsy, many of which he says lead to her death.

Five months after the crime, Miller's mother, Nicole Lee, was also arrested on child abuse charges. Prosecutors say she knew Jones was abusing her daughter and did nothing stop it.

Detectives say the three-year-old suffered and then died from severe injuries while under the care of Lee's boyfriend, Ryann Jones. But in court, Jones' attorney angrily questioned why the coroner didn't take physical samples of Natalynn's injuries, adding they could have been sustained from her father or when Jones was performing C.P.R. on the child.

Jones and Lee had a large group of family and friends in court supporting them. In written statements to Action News, they call the claims against the couple completely false.

"My client is saying that she fell, that she hit her head that he tried desperately to save her that he had nothing to do with her death," said Ryann Jones Attorney Mark Coleman.

For now, the judge has also allowed statements made by Natalynn to her father and babysitter in which she calls Jones a "monster" and describes her fear of him, to be used during the trial.

Jones will be arraigned on the charges next month.

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