A Quarryville couple is in custody on charges regarding repeated abuse of a 4-year-old boy, who was beaten and punished for months, primarily by the woman charged.
Danielle L. Miller, 31, is charged with 8 felonies for a 4-month period of abuse which included:
- forcing the boy to eat laxatives and hot sauce
- bounding the boy’s legs for hours
- locking the boy in a padded closet for hours
- verbal abuse, including calling the boy a “(expletive) pig” and telling the boy he has a “stupid, ugly face”
The boy, now with relatives, sustained lacerations, bruises and burns.
Nathan P. Duke, 30, the boy’s father, also is charged – with felony counts of endangerment and conspiracy – for concealing the abuse and not reporting.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Linda Gerow filed charges Monday with approval from Assistant District Attorney Christopher Sarno. The couple was arrested and arraigned Monday morning.
Miller’s bail was set at $300,000; Duke’s at $100,000. Neither have posted bail.
Police believe Miller resented and abused the boy because he is Duke’s child with another woman.
Local Children & Youth services took custody of three other children whom lived at the couple’s home in the 700 block of Lancaster Pike.
No charges are filed regarding those children.
Police began the investigation when an acquaintance of the couple reported suspected abuse.
The boy was removed from the home in July. Medical examinations revealed injuries caused by abuse.
Multiple acquaintances of the family provided police with information on specific incidents of abuse.
The boy was bound at the legs in what Miller called “playing mermaid”; he was fed “poop beans,” a laxative concoction; he was fed hot sauce and not allowed to drink water for long periods of time; he was barricaded into a closet and terrorized by Miller; he was forced to stay on a toilet for hours, until he defecated.
District Judge Stuart Mylin arraigned the couple and will preside over preliminary hearings, expected in coming weeks.
Miller is charged with aggravated assault, endangering a child, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, and harassment.
Miller and Duke are presumed innocent.
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