QUARRYVILLE, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.–A Quarryville couple accused of forcing a 4-year-old boy to eat laxatives and hot sauce are headed for trial.
Danielle L. Miller, 31, and Nathan P. Duke, 30, waived preliminary hearings at District Judge Stuart Mylin’s office in Quarryville. In turn, Judge Mylin ordered the cases be tried in Lancaster County Court.
Miller, 31, is charged with aggravated assault, endangering a child, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, and reckless endangerment.
Duke, 30, is charged with felony counts of endangerment and conspiracy – for concealing the abuse and not reporting.
Both appeared in court to sign paperwork regarding the waivers, according to Assistant District Attorney Christopher Sarno, lead prosecutor.
Miller remains at Lancaster County Prison on $300,000 bail. Judge Mylin lowered Duke’s bail, at defense request, to $25,000, which has not been posted.
Miller is charged with 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”
Police began looking into the couple when an acquaintance reported suspected abuse.
The boy, Duke’s son with another woman, was removed from the home in July. Medical examinations revealed injuries caused by abuse, prosecutors said.
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.
The boy, who now lives with relatives, sustained numerous injuries including; lacerations, bruises and burns.
The couple’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 13.