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Lynchburg man reached out to Warden before calling police




Jonathan Craft, of Lynchburg, called Pulaski Police Department after reaching out to Samantha Warden, mother of Cory Cole, the infant who was found dead in a wooded area in Draper. Craft said he wanted to reach out to Warden, which he said he did through a media outlet, and let her know he knew what she was going through. He thought it would be helpful for her to be able to talk to someone who could relate and knew what she was going through. Craft’s 13-month-old daughter, Veralee Marie Craft, was killed in 2012 by the boyfriend of her mother, Preston King, who agreed to plead guilty to first degree murder charges.

Craft said he had never met Warden at all until Monday, Feb. 10. He talked to Warden which led to him ask if she needed to get out of town for a while. He offered to let her stay at his home for a few days, and she accepted. Craft said it didn’t take long before he realized something was off.

He said Warden talked about money and said she didn’t have enough for a grave marker, so Craft said he would help her set up a fundraiser. He set up a Facebook page, Justice for Cory Cole, modeled after the one made for his own daughter. Craft said he is a serious child abuse activist and is locally known for his involvement.

When Craft asked Warden about the abuse Cole inflicted on Cory, he mentioned the report of Cory being thrown on the bed by Cole. Craft said Warden told him she only told the cops Cory had been abused by Cole so they would get involved. “She said ‘he didn’t actually throw him on the bed, he tossed him,’” said Craft, who was very upset by the fact Warden didn’t seem to see tossing as abuse.

“She also said the police told her there were bite marks (on Cory) and that Cole used to bite her during sex, which was more than I needed to know.” Craft spoke of Warden’s promiscuous activity, saying she had been trying to “hook up with different guys in Lynchburg” since she had been at his home, and that she had been on a Skype call with a different guy in North Carolina who was going to come and pick her up and take her there.

Craft said after the many red flags he had seen from Warden, he decided he needed to act. “Things just started going in a different direction, so I contacted a Pulaski detective. I knew something wasn’t right,” said Craft.

He also said he still has her personal items at his home, and the guys she was staying with at “the little blue house in the middle of nowhere” asked if he was planning to bring the items back. Craft told them they could come and pick them up, that he would leave them outside. He said among the items left behind were an iPad with her personal information and Facebook messages readily accessible and drug paraphernalia. Craft tried to send these items with Campbell County police and said he was told they couldn’t take them because there was no room.

“When she got arrested at my house she showed no emotion,” said Craft. “The only thing she was worried about was whether or not she could change her clothes or have a cigarette. She wasn’t in shock.” Craft said at that point Warden called her parents and told them goodbye. “I think a lot more is going to come out of it. I think the full truth is going to come out.”


*Be sure to check out our weekend edition for more of this story.

117 Responses to Lynchburg man reached out to Warden before calling police

  1. 2014

    February 18, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Does anyone know how the baby was killed??? None of the articles have said

    • jasper123

      February 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      no word yet of cause im sure lauren richard and samantha know

  2. CJ

    February 18, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Hmm Im not the only one, dont know why you keep pointing me out, dont really care. And I concluded that because I was talking about the Justice for Cory page.. but now that I know you were referring to this page, yes I have, and not because you said anything, but I plan on stopping that as well. I believe we are all outraged with sadness for Cory and madness for how he was treated, and sometimes the best way to let that anger go is to ask questions and point out the obvious.. and I plan on finding other ways to voice my opinions. And hopfully in a place where people like you dont point out people to TRY to make feel bad. I do not feel bad for asking questions, and putting my opinions out there. But this is not the place.

    Steve Rianne Myra Private and Too hmm, I agree with you all!

    Its ALL going to come out, I have hope! Please always report anything you know or even think isnt right, whether it be children, animals, drugs, domestic violence, bullying and so on. None of its right, and needs to all be recognized.

  3. CJ

    February 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

    2014 I dont think they’ve released that yet, I dont wanna know but do in a way. It worries me that its taken so long.

  4. CJ

    February 18, 2014 at 11:33 am

    But then again it could be a good thing and dont want to miss a thing!

  5. jasper123

    February 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    this is so stupid jonathans family gettin dragged in dirt for wat cause a deaed beat mom came to his home covered her lil baby corys death up took up for a killer why is he the bad one cmon people look at the picture she maybe been gone and law woouldnt be able to bring her to justice she was goin to run plese look at him as doin right

  6. steve

    February 19, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    After Mr Crafts fundraising post was questioned, they were deleted and taken down from the JFC page. People had donated but the money went to an account of Joyce Craft. He also posted her personal pics and also sent them to people right after she was arrested. He should not have messed with anything since this is a murder investigation. He seeks attention for himself only.

  7. CJ

    February 20, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Will thd creator posted evidence he had that she left before police even collected it. He obviously knew it was wrong because he took it down. Thats what rianne is talking about.. and you joined the cackling hens. Welcome!: )

  8. Really?????

    February 20, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I do not know Samantha, Howard, Jonathan etc. What I do know is how can you all say Craft is a hero for turning her in because she was running when the warrant for her arrest was only issued a couple hours prior to her actual arrest which was two days AFTER she went to Crafts home???? The two were introduced through a staff member of the news station. Ironic? To me YES! News always needs the story regardless of facts. Craft once mentioned on the JFC page the police didn’t need Samanthas paraphernalia? Yea right! If there was any they surely would have taken it! The only thing I saw on the news cast was prescription pill bottles on top of her belongings. Who put them there? If it were illegal the police would have taken it. Craft put it on top to make sure it was in the broadcast to make himself look like this “hero”

    Samantha and Howard are both guilty in this, some way. But let’s stop focusing on what Craft “done” and focus on Cory.. look back at when JFC page was created. It was before Samantha met Craft. He only had access to it because he had Wardens IPad still logged in to FB giving him access to it. All this I know from posts made by people into the page reveling this before he deleted it.

    Too much praise and credit is going to Craft. When in reality he’s messing up an investigation with all the personal things about Cory’s parents when the focus needs to be on Cory and child abuse!

    • steve

      February 20, 2014 at 11:21 am


  9. steve

    February 20, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Jasper 123 I’m sure Howard knows…sounds like Craft is your son.

  10. rianne

    February 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    She even called someone a dirt bag on Jfc page for not agreeing with her son. A lot was deleted by him on that page.