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Parents charged with torture of kids forced to sleep in ‘igloo-style doghouse’

Camille Lewis and John Miles (Tulsa County Jail)

Camille Rechae Lewis and John Lawrence Miles (Tulsa County Jail)

A mother and stepfather have been arrested in Oklahoma in connection with torturing their two children for years, one of whom died and the other left malnourished and scarred.

Camille Rechae Lewis and John Lawrence Miles were taken into custody last week and charged with two counts of child abuse by injuring, torturing, or maiming and three counts of child neglect, jail records show. Miles was also charged with one count of child abuse by injury and one count of child sexual abuse.

Police have not charged either parent in the death of their 11-year-old son. Police said the mom claimed he ran away, but officials said there is an ongoing homicide investigation into the death.

The case came to light when the children’s grandmother contacted police on Jan. 27 to file a report about her grandson, saying that he had been missing for several years and was possibly dead, according to a news release from the Tulsa Police Department.

The grandmother also reported that her granddaughter had been the victim of serious continued sexual abuse.

The grandmother told investigators that the mother had left her 13-year-old daughter with her in September 2022. The grandmother described the girl as skin and bones, officials said.

She also said that when Lewis left the girl, she told her mother that the 11-year-old boy was dead.

The girl told detectives that her mother and stepfather locked her and her brother in separate closets for days at a time, police said. The girl said they were not fed and were beaten with belts and cords.

“The girl said at times she had to urinate/defecate in a bag/cup in the closet,” police said. “She said sometimes she and her brother would be forced to sleep in an igloo-style doghouse in the backyard and exercise outdoors in very cold weather.”

The girl told investigators that her stepfather offered her food for sexual favors, police said.

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She also said her mom told her about her brother’s death.

“The girl said in March of 2021, she heard her mother crying and begging her brother to wake up,” police said. “The girl said her mother later told her that her brother had a seizure and died, and they did not take him to the hospital because they did not want to be in trouble.”

He died in August 2021. Miles and a cousin buried the body in a park before digging the body up, burning the body in a barrel, and discarding the ashes in a drainage system, the girl said her mother told her, according to police.

When officers took Camille Lewis into custody on Feb. 7, they said she admitted to abusing her children and causing the scars seen on her daughter’s body but that she hadn’t seen her son since he ran away.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.