Zoe’s remains were located in a windowless bathroom where investigators found a makeshift bed in the bathtub, authorities said.
While investigating the fire, detectives discovered the couple’s five children were living in “unsanitary and dangerous” conditions.
According to a Division of Family and Children Services case manager, the home did not have a sewage system and the children were believed not to have showered in months. The case manager stated in a report that they had not been outside the home in years.
The couple allegedly used their hands, belts and a metal pipe to strike and beat the children, deprived them of running water, made them use the toilet in buckets in their bedrooms, made them stand on cinderblocks for extended periods of time and refused to allow them bathroom breaks resulting in the children soiling themselves, according to the indictment.
The children were also whipped until they collapsed during punishments, shocked with electric collars, not allowed to attend school or be home-schooled, and isolated so they didn’t see their siblings or neighbors, the indictment states.
The couple, who had been on the run since early May, were found on the Appalachian Trail in June. The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office took them into custody near Helen.
The remaining three children were taken into protective custody by the state following the fire.