IW detectives investigate abuse report

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From Staff Reports

The Tidewater News

ZUNI — A detective with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the alleged abuse of a 15-year-old girl was as an isolated incident or an ongoing matter.

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Lt. James Pope would not say what the victim — who on April 27 was allegedly strapped to a tree by her guardians, who then threw eggs and dumped beer on her — is claiming.

“I can’t release that,” Pope said Monday.

The Sheriff’s Office recently charged Loretta L. Miller, 48; Randel L. Miller, 47; Margaret J. Allen, 46; and Ross Renicker, 48, for the alleged incident at Big Bear Family Campground at 7651 Whispering Pines Trail off Broadwater Road near Zuni.

The Millers are the girl’s legal guardians, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to a criminal complaint, Randel Miller put eggs in the girl’s shirt and shoved her against the tree, cracking the eggs. Loretta Miller poured two bottles of beer over the teen and Allen sprayed her in the face with a hose.

Also according to the complaint, both women admitted to the incident during the investigation, claiming it was all in fun.

Three of the suspects are being held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail. Allen was released.

Someone reported the incident to the county’s Department of Social Services, which accompanied the sheriff’s office to campground, Pope said.

Deputies were told that the girl had been tied to a tree using ratchet straps, which are normally nylon and used to tie down cargo.

Deputies determined the girl was held against her will and charged all with assault and battery on a family member. Loretta and Randel Miller, and Allen were charged with felony abduction. Randel Miller was charged with obstruction of justice for resisting arrest on May 2.

Campground owner Hank Monteiro did not want to comment and would not give permission to talk to the suspects’ neighbors at the campground.

“I don’t want to say anything that’s going to hurt anyone,” Monteiro said. “No one really knows what happened, but the sheriff’s department.”

He did confirm that all of the suspects were living at the campground.

Reached by phone, Allen said she did not want to comment.

On May 12, after the victim provided police with more information, Sgt. K. Gradine obtained search warrants for Lot 73 and Lot 74 and several vehicles. The search warrants were executed and possible evidence was obtained.

The search warrants filed with Isle of Wight County Circuit Court were sealed because the victim is a juvenile.