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Metal rod, belt taken in search after child’s death / June 06, 2019

Before charging two suspects with the murder of five-year-old Christian Sydnor of Cluster Springs, Sheriff’s Office investigators executed a search warrant at the family residence and found a brown leather belt and metal rod believed to have been used in the fatal beating of the child.

Tonja Lashay Sydnor, 31, the boy’s mother, and Kory Lennon, 22, were arrested on May 28, the same day that investigators searched the Sydnor family residence on Old Cluster Springs Road.

Sydnor and Lennon were picked up by the sheriff’s department that day and have been in jail since, awaiting court appearances on charges of second degree murder and felony child abuse or neglect.

The search warrant, obtained through a county magistrate, authorized Sheriff’s investigators to search the trailer home for suspected weapons — firearms, ammunitions, knives, bats or other objects that could have been used to inflict injury on the child.

The evidence inventory that was submitted to Circuit Court with the search warrant lists two such items: a brown leather belt, found in the boy’s bedroom, and a blue metal rod, discovered on the living room floor.

The 3:10 a.m. search was conducted by Sheriff’s Investigators Jeff Burton and Sam Edmonds.

Attempts to reach Sheriff Fred Clark for comment on the household search were unsuccessful.

According to the state medical examiner’s office, the youth died of blunt force trauma injury to the head. Law enforcement officials have declined to speak about the circumstances of the child’s death.

Along with possible weapons, investigators collected two swab samples of blood from the bedroom wall of Christian Sydnor. They also confiscated a cell phone found on a kitchen table and $155 in Kory Lennon’s wallet.

Lennon is currently being held without bond at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax. Sydnor has been transferred to the Amherst jail facility where she awaits her next court appearance.

After an arraignment hearing May 31 — two days after both defendants were charged by police with second degree murder — the next court date scheduled in the case is July 2, in Halifax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m.

Lennon, a resident of State Shed Road in Nathalie, is being represented by the Public Defenders Office. Tonja Sydnor has been assigned a court-appointed lawyer, Mike Jones of Keysville.

Court records show that Tonja Sydnor has no record of past crimes in Halifax County. However, Lennon is currently facing two unrelated charges connected to an alleged attack on a family member, Kayla Anne Jordan.

Lennon was arrested for misdemeanor assault and battery and possession of a firearm while under a protective order after an April 1, 2019 incident involving Jordan. She filed an April 29 complaint alleging that “I was threatened via text message by Kory Lennon that he was going to kill me” and that “Kory mushed my face, pushed me around aggressively.”

He is due to appear in court on these charges on June 18, and has been assigned Gregory Waddell as his defense lawyer.

The victim, Christian Antoine Sydnor, was laid to rest Sunday, at Rocky Mount Baptist Church in Skipwith. His father, Xavier Antoine Dotson, is a Clarksville resident.

The child had recently completed the South Boston Early Learning Center pre-K program and was preparing to enter kindergarten at South Boston Elementary School in August. He died Monday, May 27 at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital after being rushed to the emergency room by rescue personnel around 6 p.m.

Police and rescue met members of the family who transported Christian from the home to Riverdale following the fatal assault. The child was unresponsive when police and EMS personnel met up with family members in the Riverdale area.

Tonja Sydnor and Kory Lennon were initially charged with lesser offenses on Tuesday, then authorities lodged the second murder counts against both defendants when the Sheriff’s Office received the determination of a cause of death from the state examiner’s office.

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