Gwinnett parents indicted on murder charges in daughter’s house fire death

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

The parents of a 10-year-old girl who died in a house fire in April have been indicted on murder charges in Gwinnett County.

Loganville couple William McCue, 47, and Carina McCue, 38, were charged with three counts of felony murder, two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, one count of aggravated assault and one count of false imprisonment in the death of their daughter, Zoe McCue. The couple were denied bond Sept. 13 in Gwinnett County Superior Court when a judge said they posed a risk of fleeing and failing to return to court if released.

According to the indictment, Zoe had been locked in her room by her parents when her 15-year-old brother intentionally set fire to the home April 17.

The teen was found at a church in Rockdale County hours after the blaze and admitted to investigators he intentionally set fire to the house. He was taken into custody on murder and arson charges. Gwinnett County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance, who is working on the 15-year-old’s case, said those charges remain unindicted but are pending in Superior Court.

According to his arrest warrant, the teen knew his family was inside when he started the fire.

Zoe’s remains were located in a windowless bathroom where investigators found a makeshift bed in the bathtub, authorities said.

ExploreGwinnett parents whose daughter died in house fire found on Appalachian Trail

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.

ExploreGwinnett parents charged after daughter’s house fire death are on the run, police say

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.