SPOKANE, WA (KELO) — While a Washington state couple charged with killing their 8-year-old adoptive daughter remain in custody in the Davison County Jail in Mitchell, court documents filed in Washington show the extent of their abuse.
Mandie Miller (Miller) and Aleksandr Kurmoyarov (Kurmoyarov), both of Airway Heights, Washington, are charged with unlawful imprisonment, first degree criminal mistreatment and second-degree murder in the death of Meela Miller (the child), their daughter who was adopted by the couple from Mandie’s sister.
The documents, filed in Superior Court in Spokane County, detail multiple forms of abuse inflicted upon the child, as well as efforts by Miller and Kurmoyarov to mislead acquaintances and investigators.
According to the documents, Miller and Kurmoyarov were attempting to have the child buried on the Rosebud Indian Reservation without any sort of paperwork documenting her death. This led the director of a funeral home on the Rosebud Reservation to contact the Davison County Coroner, who then contacted police in Mitchell.
Miller has relatives in South Dakota, according to court documents, which also indicate that suspicions about the couple started at least as far back as August.
On Aug. 9, Miller and Kurmoyarov’s landlord in Airway Heights contacted Child Protective Services who requested a welfare check on the child, as the landlord had not seen the child since the couple moved in back in May, according to court documents. Officers made contact with Miller who told them they lived on a night-shift schedule and that the child was sleeping. The officers observed the child in bed and noting that she was breathing, left without speaking to her.
In October a victim’s advocate attempted to visit the residence, but they were chased away by Kurmoyarov, who smashed the advocate’s window as they drove away.
Statements made by the couple recently in Mitchell indicate the child may have already been dead in October.
According to court documents, the couple told police in Mitchell that the child had died on Sept. 10, that they had not reported her death, and that they had transported her body to South Dakota in a casket inside a U-Haul trailer.
Beyond, a victim’s advocate and Child Services, another adult apparently shared concern about the child.
A former boyfriend of Miller contacted police in Washington on Dec. 16, telling them that Miller had called him on Nov. 16 to tell him that the child had died, to which he recounted responding “What did you guys do to her?” Miller denied doing anything to the child, telling the ex-boyfriend that she had died on Nov. 5, and that her tribe had paid to fly her back to South Dakota for burial.
Miller reportedly told the former boyfriend that the child had suffered chest pains and that they had taken her to the Indian Health Service hospital, who sent them home. She reportedly then said that the child vomited pink vomit and passed out and was deceased by the time an ambulance arrived.
An ambulance was never called. Documents also said that Miller told investigators that the child had died after choking on a strawberry milkshake, and that they did not call 9-1-1 because it would take an ambulance half an hour to arrive. It is noted by investigators that Miller’s claim did not make sense, and that she appeared to be deceptive about the cause of the child’s death.
After the couple had talked to Davison County officials, investigators in Washington searched the residence in Airway Heights on a warrant on Dec. 15. Investigators reported finding multiple differently sized zip ties, both intact and cut, as well as multiple varieties of air freshening products and sage placed on a shell on the floor of the child’s bedroom.
The doctor who finally performed an autopsy on the child on Dec.15 reported that she had an injury to her tibia, lesions on her right wrist and ankles consistent with being tied up, and that she was extremely malnourished, weighing just 26 lbs.
According to growth charts from the CDC in May, 2000, and eight-year-old girl should weigh approximately between 42 and 80 lbs.
Documents show the doctor determined the child’s cause of death to be homicide.
Other forms of abuse are also described, with investigators reporting that Kurmoyarov told them that an autopsy on the child would reveal broken toes. Kurmoyarov said this was because Miller would hit the child’s toes with a hammer when she was “acting out.” He also stated that the child was tied up for 4-6 hours on the day she died.
Further admissions of the use of restraints are outlined in the documents, with Kurmoyarov also admitted that he and Miller would tie her up for 4-6 hours a day at their residence.
Both Miller and Kurmoyarov are due back in a Davison County courtroom on Jan. 5.