Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Custodial dad, step on trial for severe abuse of 11-year-old son (Gold Hill, Oregon)

Another one of those cases where the mother's existence is neatly written out of the story.

How did abuser dad LAWRENCE MILLARD get custody? And what happened to the mother? Is she deceased? If so, do we know for a fact that it's from natural causes? Has she "disappeared"? If so, do we know the circumstances? Is she alive, but beaten out by this sadistic torture freak in family court? What?

Gold Hill couple on trial for child abuse
Prosecution: Boy burned, tied up
A Gold Hill couple are on trial facing accusations they severely abused their 11-year-old son.

By Vickie Aldous Mail Tribune Posted Aug. 25, 2015 at 5:54 PM

Nurse practitioner Diane Kutzke remembers her first impressions of an 11-year-old boy who came to her for treatment of his burned hands.

"He was a very polite, sweet little boy. He was thin — emaciated almost — with horrific burns," Kutzke said in a videotaped deposition, adding that unlike most children, he waited patiently while at the clinic, reading a Harry Potter book.

Kutzke said his swollen, reddish-purple hands had so much tissue damage she couldn't tell whether the burns were recent.

The Jackson County District Attorney's Office alleges the boy's stepmother, Angela Marie Millard of Gold Hill, said she would show the boy what hell felt like, then held his hands under scalding hot running water sometime around Thanksgiving 2014.

He didn't receive medical care for his burned, infected hands until early February, when his grandmother took him to a clinic in Washington state, prosecutors allege.

Angela Millard, 35, and her husband, Lawrence Millard, 38, the boy's biological father, are on trial this week in Jackson County Circuit Court facing a host of assault and criminal mistreatment charges. The trial is scheduled to continue through Thursday.

During the February health clinic visit, Kutzke said she also observed the boy had a broken tooth, a swollen foot, bruised legs and an injury to his face.

Fearing that his parents were traveling from Oregon and would pick him up at the Washington clinic, Kutzke called 911.

"I called 911 because it was clear to me he had been abused," she said in the deposition, which was played Monday during the trial. "I thought he was in imminent danger."

The Millards were arrested in February and lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where they remain on $100,000 bail each.

After interviewing the boy and conducting a search of the family's one-bedroom apartment, investigators said they found a blue rope the Millards allegedly had used to tie up the boy when Lawrence Millard went to work and Angela Millard — who was pregnant at the time — ran errands and went to her own doctor appointments.

The boy was allegedly left tied up so long he urinated and defecated on himself. Angry that his clothing then had to be taken to a laundromat for washing, the Millards allegedly responded by diapering the boy and then leaving him tied up, prosecutors said.

Testing revealed the boy's DNA on the rope, plus the DNA of both parents, according to court testimony.

Diaper packaging and a diaper — sized to fit a child between 38 and 65 pounds — were also found in the home, investigators said.

Jackson County sheriff's Detective Steve Bohn, who was part of the team that executed a search warrant on the Millards' home, said investigators found a broken tooth in the bathroom. A dentist later was able to affix the broken-off tooth to a tooth root in the boy's mouth, he said.

Prosecutors allege Angela Millard hit the boy so hard with a hairbrush she broke out the tooth. Lawrence Millard is accused of injuring the boy's legs by beating him with a table leg.

The boy is now being cared for by a foster family, along with his toddler sister and a baby sister who was born a few months ago, said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Virginia Greer.

In a videotaped interview between the boy and Bohn that was played in court, the boy said he is glad he and his toddler sister were taken away from the Millards.

"She would probably die if my dad beat her like he did me. She's only 2," the boy said.

Prosecutors allege the Millards did not get medical attention for the boy, who is now 12, because they feared the alleged abuse would be discovered. They allegedly did not allow the boy to go to school after he was burned. School records show he stopped attending school.

The boy said his stepmother bandaged his hands, but did not take him to a doctor.

Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan, an expert in vulnerable victim and high-tech crime investigations, said a search of Lawrence Millard's laptop showed deleted content of the boy clad only in underwear with bandaged hands. The image was preserved on the Cloud, an Internet-based data storage system. #The photo was taken on Dec. 10, 2014, long before the boy's February visit to the Washington state clinic with his grandmother, Fagan testified.

Fagan said laptop and cellphone searches show someone in the household entered search terms for "What happens when CPS (Child Protective Services) is called on you," "When they come after you" and "CPS advice for parents."

Prosecutors said the parents made the boy write extensively as a punishment.

Bohn said investigators found numerous writings made by the boy as he referenced biblical scriptures and said he was trying to obey his parents so he would be allowed to go back to school. The writings were entered as evidence over the objections of the Millards' court-appointed defense attorneys, who said the submissions would be too prejudicial.

The defense attorneys said they would acknowledge some facts in the case are true, but that the prosecution's case is deficient because some facts are still in dispute.

As one punishment, Bohn said the boy had written, "I will listen to and love my family."

Bohn testified the boy wrote the sentence over and over again — 1,136 times.