15-year-old reportedly confessed to starting fire, custody hearing begins
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – New details have been released about the fatal Loganville fire that claimed the life of a 10-year-old girl named Zoey McCue on Easter Sunday morning.
Her 15-year-old brother has been arrested for the fire and is currently facing charges. The parents of the children have lost custody of the children under allegations of abuse and neglect. This comes after police responding to the fire discovered the children in the home had not been to school in years, were malnourished, and were using a bucket as a toilet.
The frail and timid 15-year-old brother appeared in court with attorneys and caseworkers as he is charged with capital murder and arson.
DFACS case worker says the five children in the home were physically abused, malnourished, and neglected by their parents. The remaining three children are in foster care as the court system as case workers explained the conditions to a judge.
“The children were extremely thin… they appeared to not have been bathed in several weeks or possibly months,” said case worker Nicole Tomlin. “They [police] also had concerns the children didn’t know how to use the toilets inside the police department, didn’t know how to use toilet paper.”
Each child was allegedly locked in separate rooms and didn’t see each other for months at a time
“The lock was on the outside of the door so they could not unlock it and get out of their room,” the case worker tested.
Police reported that the 10-year-old girl was sleeping on a wooden board balanced across the top of the bathtub in a closed windowless bathroom in the home. She died in that spot in Sunday’s fire.
“They found the deceased in a bathroom that had possibly been converted into a bedroom,” the case worker.
At the hospital, nurses say the children were reluctant to say anything bad about their parents. But the 8-year-old boy had 10 healing lacerations on his back and bruises on his arms. He said his mother whipped him with a belt. He also has severely impaired speech, the case worker tested.
The other little boy had a healed human bite mark on his inner thigh which he tried to tell doctors was a dog bite.
The 17-year-old daughter reportedly has a job working with the parents and interacting with the public, her guardians said.
The judge ultimately agreed that the children should remain in foster care but did grant supervised supervision twice a week with the mother. Another hearing was scheduled for May 9 at 9 am
According to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the Bethel Christian Church in Conyers about a juvenile who was in distress.
RCSO Corporal Banks was one of the first deputies on the scene and learned the juvenile had ran away from home. The deputy determined that the juvenile was in distress and acting bizarre and began using Crisis Intervention strategies to communicate with the boy.
The juvenile reportedly confessed to the deputy that he started a fire in his family home in Loganville. The Sheriff’s Office contacted Gwinnett County Police and they confirmed they were investigating an arson on Beaver Road in Loganville.
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