May 12, 2009
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472
Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Barbara Veal of Canton received a 20-year sentence through a plea arrangement for manslaughter involving the 2004 death of her three-year-old daughter, Samantha Stewart.
Guest stated, “This was a senseless crime that took the life of a young child. Veal was a terrible mother who was known throughout the community to abuse drugs. She chose the lifestyle of a drug user over being a mother to her child.”
In April 2004, Barbara Veal’s daughter died at the Madison County Medical Center following several days of being sick. The autopsy determined that the child died from internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Veal became a suspect in 2004 after a polygraph examination revealed that she lied about the death of her daughter. Unfortunately, at the time, no witnesses would come forward with evidence that Veal was the person who inflicted the injuries that ultimately ended the life of her daughter.
The Canton Police Department continued to follow leads in the case and in April 2008, investigators interviewed Henry Archie, who was Barbara Veal’s live-in boyfriend in 2004. Archie was incarcerated at the Leake County Detention Center for an unrelated crime. Although Archie had been questioned several times in 2004, he decided in 2008 to provide law enforcement with the truth about the child’s death.
Archie told the Canton Police Department that the victim was sitting on the couch when her mother grabbed her by the arm and hit her with her fist in the abdomen, causing the little girl to fall to the ground.
A second witness then came forward and told the Canton Police Department that, although his residence was across the street from Veal, he could hear her yelling at her daughter and saw Veal hit her daughter in the abdomen with her fist.
Although the child started showing signs of illness following the incident, it was determined that the time delay between injury and death was consistent with shock from internal bleeding.
Guest added, “This was a cold case that the Canton Police Department worked tirelessly to solve. Because of their hard work, the death of Samantha Stewart has now been closed. Barbara Veal’s arrest and conviction should serve as a warning to others who choose a lifestyle of drug abuse over the protection of their children.”