A married couple from Quarryville, Pennsylvania, has been jailed for continually abusing a 4-year-old boy over a four-month period. The mother fed the boy, who is her stepson, hot sauce and laxative laced beans, imprisoned him in a closet for hours and otherwise tortured him for being another woman's child.
Danielle Miller, 31, was placed in a Lancaster County jail cell on Nov. 7 with a set bond of $300,000 and has been charged with eight felony counts of false imprisonment, endangering a child, unlawful restraint, harassment, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats, Daily Mail reports.
The father of the victim, Nathan Duke, 30, was jailed as well and charged with endangerment and conspiracy charges for doing nothing to protect his child. His bond is set at $100,000.
The husband reportedly told police that he intentionally did not report his son's injuries because he knew his bruises, burns and lacerations would look like the outcome of child abuse, WGAL reports.
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Miller would bind the boy and call it a "playing mermaid" game, police said, adding that he was frequently thrown into a locked closet and tormented by her, Penn Live reports. She would also feed the boy a laxative she dubbed "poop beans."
Miller reportedly fed the boy hot sauce and would not give him water for long periods of time. Police said she would also make the boy sit on a toilet for hours until he defecated, calling him a "fu***** pig" all the while and insist he had a "stupid, fu***** ugly face."
She would also inflict bruises, lacerations and burns on the little boy.
The victim was taken away from the Miller and Duke home in July and is now living with extended family, the police said.
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Police started looking into the case when an acquaintance of the couple reported abusive behavior. Several individuals who knew the family recounted abusive incidents and provided additional information to the police.
Law enforcement officials believe Miller was resentful of the boy and abused him because he is the offspring of Duke and another woman.
The three biological children of Miller and Duke, who lived with the couple, are now under the care of local Children and Youth services. Miller has not been charged with abusing her biological children, police said.