A three-year-old boy perished helplessly in a raging house fire in Louisiana, Mo., last Thursday as police officers tasered then restrained his desperate stepfather who wanted to try to save him from the deadly blaze.
According to a KHQA 7 report, the boy, Riley Miller, was pronounced dead at Pike County Memorial Hospital after firefighters discovered his body near the doorway to a bedroom in the destroyed home.
The boy's stepfather, Ryan Miller, was treated and released from hospital for burns to his chest while his mother, Cathy Miller, suffered burns to the cornea of her eyes, according to the report. All of this happened, according to Ryan Miller's mother, Lori Miller, after police had tasered her son three times for trying to save the three-year-old boy from the raging flames.
"He tried to get back in the house to get the baby," Lori Miller said. "They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son."
Ryan Miller's sister-in-law doesn't think the police handled the situation correctly and dismissed them as heartless for preventing him from trying to save the boy.
"It's just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn't try and save a three-year-old burning in a house?" said Emily Miller. "We've been going through pictures and he's just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid."
The report notes that the original 911 call came in at 12:58 a.m. at 405 S. Main Street. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 1:03 a.m.
City Administrator Bob Jenne said the fire started in a recreation room at the back of the house while the parents had fallen asleep watching TV and Riley was sleeping in his bedroom.
The parents reportedly escaped the burning house through a rear door in the building when smoke woke them from their sleep and they called 911. They then ran to the front of the house and Ryan Miller was trying to break down the front door as police and firefighters arrived on the scene. Jenne confirmed that he was stunned with a Taser and restrained.
State Fire Marshal Investigator Scott Stoneberger explained that a firefighter in full gear had attempted to enter the house but the flames were too hot.
In the aftermath of the fire, Cathy Miller promoted several photos of her dead son on her Facebook page, and friends and well-wishers shared in her grief.
"Praying for you Cathy. I too know the pain of losing a child, my heart goes out to you. I wish I were in town for the funeral, I'd love to pass on a hug...but know I'm sending one from Georgia," wrote Genevieve Ralph.
The boy's baby-sitter, Sheila Sapp, also called for prayers for his family on her Facebook page.
"I was Riley's Babysitter. I want to remind everyone that a beautiful little boy with a smile that would brighten anyone's day lost his life in that fire. His family needs your prayers," she wrote.