Stepmom accused of burning boy, force feeding laxatives & hot sauce

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

QUARRYVILLE, PA– A Lancaster County woman is headed to trial on charges she abused her 4-year-old stepson by hitting and burning the boy and forcing him to eat adult laxatives and hot sauce.

Danielle L. Miller, 31, of Providence Township, was ordered to court on all but one charge, a summary count of harassment that was withdrawn, after waiving her preliminary hearing on Thursday, according to court records.

The boy’s father, 30-year-old Nathan P. Duke, waived to court felony charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Police said he failed to stop or report the abuse that began when the boy was three years old.

Authorities say the child in three months of abuse suffered injuries that included cuts, burns, and bruises over his entire body before he was removed from the home and placed in the care of other family members.

According to a criminal complaint, a witness told police she saw Miller force feed the boy “poop beans” that contained adult laxatives. The witness said Miller also poured hot sauce in the child’s mouth and refused to give him water, sometimes for as long as 15 minutes.

The witness told police that Miller also wrapped the boy’s legs with a sheet and duct tape and confined him like that for hours. She also said the child was forced to wear soiled pull-ups and locked in a padded closet for hours.

Her verbal abuse included calling the boy a “(expletive) pig” and telling him he has a “stupid, ugly face,” authorities said.

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

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. She remains in the Lancaster County Prison on $300,000 bail.

Duke’s bail was reduced at the hearing from $100,000 to $25,000 bail.

By waiving their hearings, the couple did not admit guilt but conceded prosecutors have enough evidence for trial.