Couple Suspected of Kidnapping Elderly Veteran
McDonald County prosecutor, Bill Dobbs, says when sheriff’s deputies were called to a Goodman, MO home, they found a 79-year old veteran who had limited access to food, water, and sanitation. The victim says he was held inside the home for nearly six months so the owners could take his social security checks and veterans benefits.
“Here is an elderly man who’s freedoms have been taken away. Who may or may not have been living, certainly in an atmosphere of neglect, if not abuse,” Dobbs said.
Investigators are still figuring out whether the suspects, Janice and Kevin Miller, knew the victim. Dobbs estimates the victim’s social security and benefits totaled roughly $3,000 a month.
“We’re not sure whether they were forging his signature or he was signing them over to them,” Dobbs said.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call, Tuesday, from a third occupant of the home concerned about the man being held. The resident, only identified as an adult female, allowed deputies to search the home.
Authorities say the victim was padlocked in a room with a small portion of the door cut out to observe the victim or pass food and water. It had a small makeshift toilet filled with the victims waste.
“Because of his age and physical condition, even though there was an opening it was not an opening that would have permitted him to escape,” Dobbs said.
The Millers are charged with kidnapping, financial exploitation of the elderly, and armed criminal action.
The third occupant of this home who called the sheriff’s deputies, initially, is still being investigated as a possible suspect. There are no charges yet for that resident.
The victim was sent to an area hospital after the arrests.