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  1. #1
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    MN - Brian & Charity Miller for child abuse, Dexter, 2011

    http://www.kare11.com/news/article/9...thholding-food

    Arrested were the boy's father, 33-year-old Brian Miller and his 26-year-old wife Charity Miller, a nurse who told investigators she was working at a senior facility in Rochester.

    The boy told the investigator the chain "gets real tight" and hurts a lot. His 8-year-old brother said he hears his brother crying every night. He told investigators he too was chained in his bedroom at a previous home until he learned to stop getting up to look for food.

    The investigator found the boy's mattress leaning against a wall. He'd been sleeping on the board at the bottom of the crib. His mother told the investigator she removed the mattress because the five-year-old picked at the mattress cover and ripped it.

    The Millers are now each charged with seven counts of child abuse, child neglect, malicious punishment of a child and false imprisonment. Amazi said the gross misdemeanors could be upgraded to felonies after physical examinations of the children are completed.

  2. #2
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    These stories rip my heart out as I know them far too well. Food is the first instrument of torture....always is. Children who are traumatized, who are adopted or in foster care, or who have certain special needs can require the most specialized care. Care that would drive typical parents around the bend. I am in NO way defending these monstrous acts nor blaming the victim but I understand how things snowball. Something that starts out as what many would see as a misbehavior can turn into a nightmare as the push and pull of parent-child dynamics come into play.

    But why...oh why, don't people ask for help when things start going downhill? The mother is a nurse. She should know that help (albeit sometimes limited) is available. If nothing else, there are support groups for families who parent challenging kids. Children with eating disorders and their parents must have access to appropriate help.

    And yes, I fully and wholeheartedly agree that some people are just monsters. I simply feel that not many seem to start out wanting to abuse to this degree. It's a slippery slope but the adults are always the ones holding the reins.

    The sad thing is that, even placed in an experienced foster home, these children will need to be forever monitored as far as eating issues go. We have a number of children who came to us in toddlerhood who never outgrew their eating disorders. Hoarding and gorging is one of the most dangerous behaviors for children as it almost guarantees that the actions will elicit some form of abuse. It's a horrid cycle. But there are humane and highly creative ways to control the problem. My heart goes out to these boys.

  3. #3
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    The sad thing is that, even placed in an experienced foster home, these children will need to be forever monitored as far as eating issues go. We have a number of children who came to us in toddlerhood who never outgrew their eating disorders. Hoarding and gorging is one of the most dangerous behaviors for children as it almost guarantees that the actions will elicit some form of abuse. It's a horrid cycle. But there are humane and highly creative ways to control the problem. My heart goes out to these boys.

    Missizzy, I never thought this would be such an issue. But, the way you have explained seems to make alot of sense.

    This story breaks my heart! To deny a child of the basic needs is just so wrong and cruel. Meanwhile these two "parents" look healthy and well fed to me!

  4. #4
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    Jul 2009
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    MorenoI--I write about this subject quite a bit as it's one I struggled with several of our children and one which I helped a lot of specialized adoptive homes with. It's an extremely complex issue and probably one of the primary reasons that children are abused or murdered as food is central--it's a hot button.

    Most people don't realize that these children (and I'm speaking generally as I don't know the facts of this case) don't just need food. You could take them into your home tomorrow and set lovely plates of food in front of them. That wouldn't be enough. It's like there's a hole in their little hearts that cannot be filled.

    As they push and sneak and steal and hide and gorge more and more food, parents get frustrated and try everything to stop it. Then it becomes a nasty power struggle and both the parents and the children need help to step outside the dynamic. It's just very simply not about food. It's about control and power and love and healthy bonding.

    I've had children sneak into a pantry in the middle of the night and eat 2 dozen cupcakes that were prepared for a class party, grab an entire birthday cake off a table while the family was taking photos and hide in the closet to eat the entire thing. We've had bags of fresh bagels sneaked out of the pantry and hidden in the toilet tank. And every class that some of them were ever in had to keep all food locked up. We even had a son steal a teacher's Rolaids one time. Another asked to go to the restroom at school and was found cleaning out the teachers' lounge fridge. This behavior bothers and sometimes infuriates not only parents but teachers and friends. You can't take the children to the grocery store as they steal. They can't go to Sunday School or camp without elaborate planning. No overnights. We've even had instances of our children sneaking into neighbors houses to take food. As you can imagine, it's tremendously humiliating for a parent who is feeding their child ample amounts of food.

    None of our children were hungry. Not in the least. They just could not control their urge to take and eat something that gave them instant pleasure as they'd gone without pleasure at some point in their life. We tried everything. We gave certain children little lock boxes filled with cases of peanut butter crackers or boxes of raisins. We'd find the entire box empty the next morning and learn that they'd vomited all night. They simply could not control their urges. It's tragic.

    My point is that when things like this develop, parents must seek help as this is a confusing and challenging problem. If you'd like to read more, there are lots of helpful articles available on the web. Just look up eating disorders and traumatized children. A lot comes up under children adopted at older ages and children adopted internationally. Adoption is not the only trigger but it's a common one. Children in their families of origin can develop this problem. It happens when the parent has not been emotionally available for the child--usually during the pre-verbal years. We have many many threads on sad cases like this.

  5. #5
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    July 2011:

    The Millers were sentenced on one count each of gross misdemeanor false imprisonment and one count each of malicious punishment. Minnesota statute allows a maximum punishment of one year in jail for each charge.

    Five other charges including malicious punishment, false imprisonment, endangerment and two counts of neglect were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
    http://www.albertleatribune.com/2011...ear-in-jail-2/

    Millers-Chains.jpg
    The actual chain

  6. #6
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    June 2011:

    A Mower County sheriff’s detective testified Wednesday that the chain used to confine Brian and Charity Miller’s 5-year-old son was so taut it restricted the boy from rolling over in his crib...


    “(There was a) real strong urine smell,” Gayle Loverink of Mower County Human Services said. “It kind of hit you when you walked in the bedroom.”

    “My eyes started watering; my nose started running,” Sandvik said. “It was close to the scent you get when you get too close to anhydrous ammonia. It was overpowering.”...

    The boy said his younger brother gets chained up because “he gets in stuff.” The 8-year-old said he has to stay in his bedroom most of the time when he’s home but hasn’t been chained up in a long time because he doesn’t “get into stuff” anymore. He also mentioned his parents using a fly swatter on his bare bottom for spankings.

    “This was a very shocking interview with the child,” Sandvik said. “Literally, his world was his room. There was a ginormous void.”

    http://www.albertleatribune.com/2011...g-court-trial/

  7. #7
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    May 2011:

    According to a court complaint, the Millers deprived their sons — ages 5 and 8 — of basic needs like food and access to the bathroom. They also chained the 5-year-old to his bed every night. The younger boy uses a crib as a bed.

    He weighs less than 30 pounds, according to court documents. Deputies noticed bruising, swelling and rust marks on the boy’s ankle, which the boy said is from his chain being too tight...

    We were to a point where gates and locks didn’t work with him,” Brian said in court. He said the boy was getting into knives and other things that “could harm him.”...

    Charity, who works as a nurse at Staffing Solutions, told officers the 5-year-old is not allowed to use the crib’s mattress because he tears the plastic liner and mattress covering.
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...-plead-guilty/

  8. #8
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    May 2011:


    Brian Dale Miller, 33, and Charity Lynn Miller, 26, requested visitation with the younger of their two sons Friday at a pre-trial hearing about the potential termination of their parental rights.


    Assistant Mower County Attorney Aaron Jones said visitation would only harm the boys further.

    “These are two boys who are very frightened of their parents,” Jones said in court...


    Todd Schoonover, court appointed legal guardian, said the 8-year-old boy does not want contact with his parents. Schoonover recommended contact with the younger son only if it’s in a “therapeutic setting.”
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...o-chained-son/

  9. #9
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    Aug 2014
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    http://www.postbulletin.com/austin/n....html?mode=jqm

    At least the kids don't ever have to live with them again!
    "If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it."
    - John Irving in A Prayer for Owen Meany

    Unless I provide a link or refer to a specific link, all my ramblings are theories, speculation, scenarios based on what info is available and my own unique life experiences.

  10. #10
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    May 2011:





    The mother who chained her 5-year-old son to his bed said she didn’t give her sons enough food because of fears the boys would become obese..

    "I only [chained him] so I would know where my son was at and that he was safe,” Charity said...

    According to the Millers, their son rarely voiced opposition to wearing the chain. Charity said he would lift his leg and say “here mommy, I help you.” Brian said the boy would “smile and say, ‘I love you, daddy.’” They briefly stopped using the chain, they said, when the boy began objecting to it.

    Charity admitted the 5-year-old would wet the bed and periodically soiled himself, but they were not using diapers.

    “At times, he’d be urine-soaked,” she said...

    On Thursday, the parents testified they would take the 5-year-old to the bathroom during the night before re-attaching the chain. However, Charity said she believed he often didn’t call out loudly.

    “I thought he should have been hollering more if he needed to go,” she said.
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...t-he-was-safe/


  11. #11
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    July 2011:

    Brian Miller and Charity Miller, the Dexter parents who chained their 5-year-old son to his crib, will keep their parental rights...


    The ruling states both Brian and Charity have “substantially, continuously, and repeatedly refused or neglected to comply with the duties imposed under (them) by the parent-child relationship …” and are “palpably unfit” to be parents. The ruling also states the Millers’ sons have experienced “egregious harm,” and returning to their parents would result in further physical or emotional harm.

    However, because the children are members of the Cherokee Tribe, the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies to the case. Under ICWA, the petitioner, Mower County Human Services, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt it made an active effort to reunify the family.

    “They have failed to meet this burden of proof,” the ruling states. “Thus, the Millers’ parental rights cannot be terminated, although this Court has found that they failed to meet their parental duties to (their sons), are palpably unfit to parent the children, and have caused the children egregious emotional harm …”
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...rental-rights/

  12. #12
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    In the interviews, the boys talked about being hungry often...

    However, Charity told a different story in court, saying she and Brian always fed the boys when they were hungry.

    “If they asked for food, they got it,” she said on the witness stand in June. “We’ve brought up (their small size) with their pediatricians and there’s never been any concern.”

    When Charity was called to the stand a second time, she admitted she didn’t give her sons enough food because of fears the boys would become obese. She said her own insecurities with weight caused her actions.
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...rental-rights/

  13. #13
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    July 2011:



    Although Brian and Charity Miller, the Dexter couple who chained their 5-year-old boy to his crib nightly, will be in jail for the next year, the couple can still work toward completing a case plan to get their two sons back...

    Brian and Charity have six months under federal guidelines to complete a case plan to reunify with their children. If they have not completed the plan by the six-month deadline, they can ask for a six-month extension. An extension would only be granted if the couple has made “significant progress,” according to Schoonover.

    However, if the couple has not completed a plan or made significant progress within six months, the Mower County Attorney’s Office can file for another termination of parental rights trial.
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...lers-sons-now/

  14. #14
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    August 2011:

    The Dexter parents who chained their 5-year-old son to his crib were court ordered Wednesday to write letters of apology to their two sons...


    TThere seems to be no remorse by the parents in relation to what they’ve done to the children,” [Assistant County Attorney] Jones said in court. “We’re at the beginning of a child protective matter; we’re not at the end.”
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...ining-parents/

  15. #15
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    October 2011:

    The Dexter couple who chained their now 6-year-old son to his crib may be facing a second trial to terminate their parental rights...

    Attorney Aaron Jones recommended that Charity’s parental rights be terminated, although a termination petition has not been filed yet. The recommendation comes from a Mower County Human Services report about Charity’s psychological evaluation; Jones was unable to make a recommendation regarding Brian’s parental rights because his psychological evaluation has not been processed yet.

    “It does not appear Charity Miller has … acknowledged the extent of the harm to the children,” Jones said in court.

    Jones said Charity’s court-ordered letters of apology were inappropriate. According to Jones, the letter she wrote to her 8-year-old son read: “I am very sorry that you think that Mommy and Daddy did those bad things to you.”

    Jones said the letter lacks accountability and that neither parent has shown much accountability for the way they treated their children.
    http://www.austindailyherald.com/201...rental-rights/

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