Police: Quarryville boy, 4, beaten, force fed laxatives & hot sauce

Danielle Miller and Nathan Duke (submitted)
Danielle Miller and Nathan Duke (submitted)

QUARRYVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County woman is jailed after police say she abused her 4-year-old stepson by hitting the boy and force feeding him adult laxatives and hot sauce.

Danielle L. Miller, 31, of Providence Township, was arrested Monday and sent to Lancaster County Prison on $300,000 bail.

The boy’s father, 30-year-old Nathan P. Duke, is in the prison on $100,000 bail. Police said he failed to stop or report the abuse, which began when the boy was three years old.

State police said the investigation began when a concerned family member showed them photos of the boy with injuries including cuts, burns, bruises, and redness over his entire body. Doctors at Lancaster General Hospital determined many of the injuries intentional or suspicious burns.

A medical expert who reviewed the medical findings concluded the injuries were “too numerous to be explained by normal childhood activity” and “clearly indicative of inflicted trauma,” according to the criminal complaint.

Police said a concerned party reported that she saw Miller, a.k.a. Danielle L. Danielle Duke, verbally and physically abuse the boy on a daily basis for about three months. She said she saw Miller force feed the boy “poop beans” which contained adult laxatives and pour hot sauce in his mouth and refuse to give him water, sometimes for as long as 15 minutes.

The witness said she also saw Miller “playing mermaid” where she wrapped the boy’s legs with a sheet and duct tape and confined him like that for hours, and she said the boy was forced to wear soiled pull-ups for hours.

She said Miller also locked the boy in a padded room, a third-floor closet lined with gym mats, and tortured him by scratching the walls and saying the “rats would come and get him,” the complaint states.

Miller also yelled at such things as “I’m gonna kick your a–,” “You are a f–ing pig,” “You nasty a–hole,” and “You have a stupid, f–ing, ugly face,” police wrote in the complaint.

Miller is charged with five counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, endangering the welfare of a child, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, and harassment.

Police believe she resented and abused the boy because he is Duke’s child with another woman.

Duke is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The boy has been placed in the care of other family members. Children and Youth Services took custody of three other children who lived at the couple’s home.

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