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Parents charged with child neglect, animal abuse

Jonathan McFadden, The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)  –

CLOVER — A Clover couple who deputies say left two young children and many pets in a home crawling with roaches, filled with debris and overflowing with trash were arrested after one of the boys said his stepfather beat him.

Bryon Lee Miller, 39, is charged with two counts of unlawful neglect of a child and ill treatment of animals. His wife, 35-year-old Kimberly Michelle Miller, is charged with ill treatment of animals, two counts of cruelty to children, burning trash near a residence and giving false information to police, according to York County Sheriff’s documents.

She was released on a $1,880 bond last Tuesday before she was arrested again on Thursday but then released again on a $470 bond Friday. Bryon Miller was released Friday on a $470 personal recognizance bond, a $5,000 bond and another $470 bond.

A week ago, deputies went to 273 Whitworth Road in Clover after a young boy told police his stepfather was smacking him in the face, a report shows. Officials found a pile of trash burning very close to the house. They noticed the front door was open slightly and could smell marijuana burning, the report states.

They were greeted by two young boys, 9 and 11, who said their stepfather, Bryon Miller, ran out the backdoor when he saw the police arrive, the report states. As officers and a K9 unit searched for Miller, they smelled a horrible odor near the house. When they went inside, they saw trash, debris, bugs, roaches and dirty dishes across the house.

There were several cats and dogs, along with pet urine and feces, throughout the house, and holes in the floor. Most of the animals were in poor health without any visible food, water or adequate shelter nearby, the report states.

Animal Control, the boys’ biological father and their grandmother all arrived on the scene. The boys told police their mother and stepfather regularly use marijuana and alcohol “because it calms them down,” the report states. They also said Bryon Miller sold most of the items in the house to buy drugs.

The boys’ father took custody of them. Deputies did not request Animal Control to take the animals into custody, said Steve Stuber, York County Animal Control director. Animal officials were called to only assist and take a look at the animals, Stuber said. The animals weren’t in danger of dying.

“We have since gone out to take a look at them (the animals) again and would like them to see a veterinarian,” he said.

Police were unable to contact Kimberly Miller until an hour later when she arrived at the home. She said she knew of the violations and poor living conditions and was doing the best she could.

Deputies took her into custody, but she was released from jail the next day.

Officials went back to the home on Thursday in an effort to find Bryon Miller but Kimberly Miller told them she didn’t know where he was. She let them in the house, where deputies found Bryon Miller hiding in the bedroom closet.

He was arrested and served with outstanding warrants. Kimberly was arrested again, asking that her mother be contacted to take care of her dogs and cats.

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