Brock Cunningham, the boyfriend of 3 1/2-year-old Natalie Pickle's mother, has been arrested on charges of first degree murder and child abuse for the toddler's 2008 death.
Natalie was severely injured Nov. 19, 2008, in Dodge City and died the next day in a Wichita hospital. Her death was ruled a homicide in early December of that year and the case has remained open since.
Natalie's mother, Amanda Perry, was at work Nov. 19 and had left her children in Cunningham's care.
An autopsy report from the Shawnee County Morgue in Topeka revealed Natalie had suffered a variety of injuries, including bruises to her scalp, hemorrhaging about her optic nerves and a right radial fracture.
At the time of Natalie's death, Cunningham reportedly told investigators she had fallen of the bed.
In a Dec. 19, 2008 article published in the Globe, Perry described Natalie as a cheerful, well-behaved girl who enjoyed playing and spending time outdoors. Her favorite activities included putting puzzles together, helping Perry cook and clean and assisting her mother in tending to her baby sister, Alexis Cunningham.
Perry said her favorite memories included the times when Natalie would climb into her lap and ask her for a story.
"I would always read to her before bed, and it was special — just me and her," she said. "That really was a special time for me that I liked being with her. She just always wanted me to be with her."