The unexpected blaring of a boat horn was the first clue there was an intruder — but it wasn’t until later that the family learned of their tortured, bloody pet.
After Wayne Miller heard the horn go off from the family’s parked boat just before 9 a.m. on June 3, he went to investigate behind his home in Clinton, Iowa, he told WQAD. Sure enough, the boat had been ransacked.
“That’s when I knew someone had been there,” Miller told the TV station.
Miller wasn’t expecting what unfolded next, though: A 12-year-old intruder, armed with a knife, hopped out of the boat and started running, according to police. That’s when Miller ran after the boy, managed to take away his knife and grabbed him, KWQC reports.
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But as Miller eased up his hold on the child and tried to reason with him, the 12-year-old escaped — and immediately went for the knife again, Miller told WQAD.
Miller managed to grab the child and hold him down again until police came, according to Clinton police.
“He was having fun,” Miller told WQAD, describing the child he restrained. “He was calling out he was going to stab us in the chest, and he was all smiles — staring my wife in the face, four inches away from her face. He thought it was a good old time.”
At that point the family got a chance to call 911, Wayne Miller's wife, Shannon, told KWQC.
Clinton Police Chief Kevin Gyrion said when officers arrived at 8:45 a.m., the family was still restraining the boy.
It was only then that the family realized their cat, Pitty Pat, had fallen victim to the 12-year-old, police said. The cat was found burned, slashed with a knife and tortured.
Though the cat was quickly taken to a veterinarian, it died of its injuries, according to police.
“He had soaked her in chemicals, he tried to set her on fire,” Shannon Miller told KWQC. “He tried to cut her tail off and she was just lying there.”
Pitty Pat liked to lounge near the gate of the family’s home so she could say hello to any visitors, Shannon Miller told KWQC. She was the family’s pet for some 15 years. The cat’s funeral was earlier this week.
Police said their investigation revealed the child committed theft from the Millers as well, though police did not specify what was stolen.
The 12-year-old has been charged with first-degree burglary and animal torture, police said.
“I never thought I was going to have to lock up my animals because of small children in the area,” Shannon Miller told KWQC, adding that the child said he took the knife from his father.