When the couple showed up at an urgent care clinic with their emaciated twin daughters in December 2016, the young parents knew it was bad.
But nurses at the urgent care clinic were horrified by what they described to police as "the worst case of child abuse they had seen," according to KJRH. Nurses told police that they watched a maggot crawl out of a wound on one of the children. One of the girls had feces in her ears, and looked like a skeleton.
Aislyn Miller, the 24-year-old mother, told police in Owasso, Okla. that she knew the 9-month-old baby girls were not in good condition, the Tulsa World reports. Miller allegedly told police that she and Kevin Fowler, 25, were “new parents” who didn’t have much experience with young children.
The girls only weighed eight pounds each when they arrived at the clinic, PIX 11 reports. They were starving, were covered in bedsores and had severe diaper rash.
A strand of hair was wrapped around one of the twin girls’ fingers, and her hand had become infected because it was there so long, the Associated Press reports. Nurses called police when the realized what bad condition the young children were in.
“It’s what we would term as shocking and heinous,” said Kristi Simpson, who investigated the incident for the Department of Human Services, according to the Tulsa World.
When police investigated the home where the children were living, they found walls streaked with cat feces and playpens full of maggots, the Tulsa World reports.
The couple was arrested on child abuse charges at the hospital, the Tulsa World reports. After being convicted of those charges by a jury last month, Miller and Fowler were formally sentenced Monday to 130 years in prison each for abusing and neglecting their twin daughters, PIX 11 reports.
At the hospital in December 2016, Miller blamed the babies’ condition on being born two weeks premature, police said, according to the Tulsa World. She also told police she didn’t have health coverage, and wasn’t sure where she could get coverage for her children.
Prosecutors will now try the girls’ matern grandparents — John and Cathey Miller — in April for allegedly enabling the girls’ abuse and neglect. Rita Fowler, the babies’ paternal grandmother, will be tried on multiple counts of child neglect, PIX 11 reports.
At the trial for Fowler and Miller, a doctor testified that the girls are in protective custody and are making good progress, according to KJRH.
Fowler and Miller told authorities that they had been working long hours, and felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for the twin girls and two other children, the Tulsa World reports.
Steven Vincent, Miller and Fowler’s defense lawyer, said during a court hearing earlier this year that the couple had applied for government assistance but were denied because they both had full-time jobs at the time, according to People magazine.