BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - A judge Friday ordered a second person to stand trial in a child abuse case which nearly killed a four-year-old boy.
In a five-page written ruling, Calhoun County District Court Judge Frank Line ordered Isaac Miller's case sent to circuit court on a charge of first-degree child abuse.
Doctors said Maloyd Gaines was nearly dead when his mother, Megan Schug brought him to Bronson Battle Creek on March 22 and police allege Miller was living in the house at the time.
Schug, 23, was ordered Thursday to stand trial also on first-degree child abuse after testimony in her preliminary examination was concluded before Judge James Norlander.
Both face up to life in prison if they are convicted.
Line also raised the bond for Miller, 35, to $100,000 cash. He has been free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond since his arraignment on a charge of second-degree child abuse in April. Schug has been held since her arrest in March on $20,000 bond.
After hearing from the last witnesses on June 15 Judge Line said he would consider a motion from prosecutors to change the charges from second-degree to first-degree child abuse against Miller and send the case to trial.
Judge Norlander also changed the charge against Schug from second-degree to first-degree child abuse.
The couple are accused of locking the boy in a closet and withholding food. An emergency room doctor testified the child was near death when he was brought to the hospital and had suffered from malnutrition for weeks or months. The boy's hair was falling out because he was not eating and he had gangrene on his toes and sores from laying in one spot for a long time.
Detectives said they believe he was held in a closet which they said smelled of feces and urine.
In his ruling Friday, Line said the probable cause evidence against Miller was that he was in the house on East Emmett Street with the boy, Schug and three other children as many as four days a week between December 2016 through March 22 and purchased food for the family and so had authority over the child.
"This court finds that the defendant was a permanent fixture in the home where Maloyd Gaines was severely harmed by neglect and abuse," Line wrote.
And the judge said Miller admitted to detectives that he knew the child was put in the closet.
The judge found there were elements of first-degree child abuse.
The bond was raised, the judge wrote, because changing the charge to a possible life offense means Miller could be a flight risk.
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