State medical examiners believe 2-year-old Callie Robinson may have died from asphyxiation, officials said Monday.

A final autopsy report for the toddler is not complete, but Richmond Police and Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said in a press release that the preliminary report indicates Callie suffocated.

“She is treating it as asphyxiation until we find out something different — if we do,” Cornelison said about the state medical examiner. “Can it change, sure. Something could jump out at the toxicology.”

“It could be two or three weeks before the (final autopsy) report is complete,” the press release states. “The police department is continuing the investigation of this incident and following up on additional leads.”

Callie, who just turned 2 on June 28, died Thursday afternoon under “suspicious circumstances,” police said previously. Callie’s mother, Verona “VJ” Brinegar, 23, and Brinegar’s boyfriend, Ronald “Ronnie” Lee Crabtree, 26, both are charged in Callie’s murder.

In a search warrant for the family’s Barnes Mill Road apartment, police indicated they seized blankets and a sleeping bag. Arrest citations for the couple reflected conflicting stories concerning wrapping Callie in a blanket.

“(Crabtree) mentioned in an interview he rolled the victim up in a blanket to put her to sleep,” Crabtree’s citation states.

Brinegar’s citation tells a different version of the story.

“(Brinegar) mentioned rolling victim up in a blanket as punishment,” the citation states.

In addition to being asphyxiated, Callie suffered multiple other injuries.

“While conducting the questioning, Detective Lafferty was notified by Detective Boyle of several injuries to Callie, including burn marks on the bottom of her left foot on the second and third toe,” the search warrant states. “Burn marks were also visible in the area of the upper back left thigh and one that appeared to be days old to her bottom right foot. An apparent burn mark was also present in the right cheek area and right corner of her mouth.

“Callie also had visible bruising to the right side of her forehead. There was also visible injuries to the child’s vaginal area and according to Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison ... may indicate sexual abuse has occurred,” the warrant states.

The toxicology report for Callie has not yet been completed, but Cornelison said he did not have any specific reason to believe drugs were involved in Callie’s death. Toxicology reports are completed automatically, Cornelison said.

Callie’s body has been released to her maternal grandparents in Warren, Ohio, Cornelison said. Information about funeral arrangements was not available Monday.

The couple is lodged in the Madison County Detention Center, each on a $250,000 cash bond. They will appear in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing in the case.

Cornelison expressed his appreciation for the Richmond Police detectives who worked Callie’s case, saying he was impressed with the way they worked the scene, evidence collection and other aspects which led to the suspects’ arrests.

“RPD swarmed this case like Indians around a wagon,” Cornelison said. “It ended up being a joint operation with Mr. Crabtree, with information coming through the sheriff’s office about him. Then the state police got involved and the left hand knew exactly what the right hand was doing. They made it happen. The evidence collection couldn’t have been better.”

Cornelison also said the case is a difficult one to work for himself, after 30 years as a paramedic, but also for all the other emergency personnel involved.

“I tell you what, that little girl was precious,” he said.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at or 624-6694.

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