Jessica Fraraccio pleads guilty to killing Elijah Nealey in Manassas
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) - For now, a bracelet is a reminder of what Mike Nealey and his wife lost.
In August of 2012, their 23-month-old son Elijah was about to start pre-school. It was weeks before his second birthday.
Nealey remembers calling Chick fil-A that day to set up a birthday party for his son. But tragedy struck. Elijah, who was in the care of a babysitter, died.
"It was a shock,” Nealey says. “We just didn't know how to process that happened."
For months, prosecutors didn't know exactly what happened.
All they knew was that the boy had died while under his babysitter's care.
The sitter, Jessica Fraraccio, changed her story multiple times.
But she finally came clean and told police Elijah was eating lunch when she pulled his chair out, causing him to fall and bump his head on the table and floor.
Prosecutors say she then carried him upside down upstairs, covering his mouth as he screamed.
"She basically...smothered him with her hand because he wouldn't stop crying,” Nealey says. "We would have never thought this. Never. The way we knew her, she seemed like a fine person."
What hurts, he says, is that they only have 23 months of memories. They still haven't been able to get rid of his toys and clothing.
"All we have is pictures...a video here and there,” Nealey says. "You keep thinking what could have been. What he could have done."
Nealey says he and his wife will be at Fraraccio's sentencing on Jan. 13. They will testify because they want tell their part of their story.
"We're both happy that the truth of what happened is finally out,” he says.