Norfolk 2-year-old dies following alleged abuse

Robert Griffis, left, Destany Martin, right, are facing charges after their 2-year-old daughter was taken to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters on Thursday, May 25. Images: Norfolk City Jail

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A 2-year-old girl who was hospitalized late last week in Norfolk has died on Sunday, Police spokesman Daniel Hudson says.

The girl’s mother, 26-year-old Destany Martin, and stepfather, 25-year-old Robert Griffis, are both charged with felony counts of child abuse, child neglect and malicious wounding.

Neighbors who spoke to 10 On Your Side last week said the couple moved to the area from Jacksonville, Florida, and kept to themselves.

“This is a transient neighborhood and people come and go so quickly,” says Faye Nash, who lives right next door to the boarding house. She now wishes she knew her neighbors a little better. It perhaps could have helped little Evalynn.

“Somebody in that house must have known. Somebody in her family must have known. Well, maybe I should have known too,” says Nash.

Arrest warrants for both Martin and Griffis state that their malicious wounding charges as; “Stab, cut, or wound another with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill”, though an official cause of death has not yet been released.

“They need to pay, they need to pay. justice for the little girl. she needs justice,” says a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Neighbors have been thinking about Evalynn since police responded Thursday. The news of her death today left them wondering what kind of parents would inflict such harm.

“It’s a terrible thing to hear and to know about. At first it didn’t affect me so much because it was a shock, it didn’t have time to sink in. But now I think about that baby suffered at the hands of people who were supposed to love and protect her,” says Nash.

10 On Your Side did ask a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney if the charges would be upgraded now that the child has died, she says right now all of that is still under investigation.

The couple is due back in court for that bond hearing on Thursday.