Wednesday, November 9, 2016
A Pennsylvania woman tied up her boyfriend’s 4-year-old son and forced him to eat laxatives and hot sauce because he was another woman’s child, authorities said.
Danielle Miller, 31, bound the boy’s legs during what she called “playing mermaid,” fed the child a laxative concoction and hot sauce without letting him drink water for long periods of time and kept him barricaded in a closet over a four-month period, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said.
Miller also verbally abused the boy, calling him a “[expletive] pig” and told him he had a “stupid, ugly” face, authorities said. She allegedly forced him to stay on a toilet for hours until he defecated. The boy, who is now staying with relatives, suffered cuts, bruises and burns during the abuse.
“Everybody knows this is just one of the most disgusting cases that we’ve had to see the facts,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said, according to Fox43.com. “And the facts read out of some type of novel. I wish I could say it was some sort of horror novel or a movie.”
Miller was charged with eight felonies, including five counts of aggravated assault. Police also charged the boy’s father, Nathan Duke, 30, with felony counts of endangerment and conspiracy for concealing the abuse and not reporting it to authorities.
Police believe Miller resented and abused the boy because he is Duke’s child with another woman.
The couple and four children, including the victim, lived together in Quarryville, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia. No charges have been filed in connection with the other three children, authorities said.
“There was no evidence of abuse whatsoever with her kids but the one that wasn’t hers was the target,” Stedman said.
The investigation was launched after an acquaintance of the couple reported suspected abuse. The boy was removed from the home in July.
“They seemed like a normal family,” neighbor Joseph Lengel told Fox43.com. “Nice people, had some contact with our daughter and them around … They didn’t really have a whole that would lead you to believe that something like that could be possible.”
Both Miller and Duke remain jailed on $300,000 and $100,000 bail, respectively.