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Tyler Gene McMillan
November 27, 1994 - June 12, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial

What is a reasonable punishment to expect for disobeying a parent? Is it losing your life? ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, that is what the parents of Tyler McMillan, if intentional or not, made him give when  he disobeyed them.

On the night of June 11, 2008, Tyler's parents tied him to a tree in the yard as punishment for not obeying them. This was the SECOND time in two nights that they had used this punishment on him.

On June 10, Tyler had been disobedient and was tied to the tree  for the first time and left there overnight. The following day, the 11th of June, he was allowed back into the house and that evening when he was misbehaving again, he was once again tied to the tree. In spite of warnings from the state that the area was unsafe due to
dense, acrid smoke coming from the Pocosin Lake wildfire, Tyler was left outside over night. On June 12, 2008, his stepmother, Sandra, went out to untie him, around 4:30 p.m., however, it was too late, Tyler was already beyond help.

Authorities were called and when they arrived, they took Tyler to Heritage Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Tyler dad been tied to the tree with plastic ties that were much like plastic handcuffs, according to what his parents claimed, though Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight didn't believe them and thought that other things might have been involved as well:

"There were other things on the body that led us to 
believe they used something different"

After authorities arrived, the child was taken to Heritage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Law enforcement officials have not given a cause of death. James Knight said that he had an idea of what it was that Tyler had been punished for, though he could not share the information. He also said that he was not sure which parent had been the one to initiate the punishment. Two other children, aged  seven and nine, were removed from the home and placed in the custody of the Department Of Social Services.

Before they had moved into this peaceful neighborhood, Tyler's father and stepmother had checked things out a little bit. James Pollard, a resident said that he was told Brice was a construction worker. Janice Pollard stated that Brice had asked her about their neighborhood several months before they moved in:

"I told him it was the most peaceful place he'd ever find"

Macclesfieled is in rural southern Edgecombe. There is a lot of open farmland and houses with shade trees lined up along two lanes of road. James and Janice said they had no idea that Tyler was being abused in his home:

"If I had known he was tied to a tree, I would have 
gone over there and got him loose. That was ridiculous"

What is odd to me is that Tyler was tied to the tree on Wednesday night and reports say that he wasn't untied until around 4:30 pm on Thursday afternoon. How is that NO ONE in that neighborhood saw this boy tied to a tree during what is reported to be an 18 hour time period, yet, later, a report would say that a dog was tied to a tree in the yard? How could people see a dog and not a teenage boy?

After what happened to Tyler, people were left shocked and he was the talk of the communities. When driving by the red brick farmhouse, people could see a dog tied to a tree, a horse roaming in the field out back, a pen that kept two goats and six chickens and a wooden swing set in the back.

Donna Harrelson said that she was at work when she heard about  what had happened to Tyler. That Friday, she was at Tarboro High School for the graduation of the latest class of seniors:

"I think that's some sorry parents. I think they need 
to do the same things to the parents"

The father of a two year old boy said that if the situation ever got so  bad at his house and he thought he had no other way to discipline his son he would get help:

 "I'd certainly seek help. That's everybody's general 
reaction to it, just outrageous"

"That is not how you discipline your children, by tying 
them to a tree. In my opinion that's cruel and inhumane 
to do that to a child” 
Carolyn Pollard

Brice and Sandra McMillan were arrested and charged with murder. Records would show that Brice had been convicted of several driving violations and Sandra was convicted of theft in Florida in 1991 and had been placed on probation. Other than that, the two had never  been in any trouble. Their first court appearance was scheduled for Monday, June 16, 2008.

At the same time that Brice and Sandra were being brought into the court house for their first court appearance, family and friends had gathered to say good-bye to Tyler. Brice McMillan, his father, who was 41 at the time and Sandra McMillan, his stepmother, who was 36 at the time faced charges of first degree murder and felony child abuse.

Brice and Sandra each had their own lawyer at their court appearance on June 16. In court, the formal charges against them were read. In court, Sandra kept her head down and was quiet the whole time and when the charges were read against them, Brice is said to have been close to tears. A probable cause hearing was set for July 2, 2008 and they were both being held without bail at the Edgecombe County Detention Center.

"It is alleged that on that date you did intentionally commit an assault, resulting in serious bodily injury, 
bruising to the wrist, cuts to the entire body, missing flesh from the buttocks, the result from being tied
to a
tree for approximately 18 hours, resulting in the death of Tyler Gene McMillan"
Edgecombe County District Court Judge Joseph Harper

Authorities would have to wait until autopsy results came back before they would know the cause of death. If Brice and Sandra were to be convicted of his death, they could face either life in prison or the death penalty.

Meanwhile, at the Greenville Church, where Tyler had grown up, his family and friends had gathered to bury
him, pay their respects and
say their final good-byes to the boy who loved to play outside with his cousins and had many hobbies. Tyler would be buried next to his mother in the family cemetery, she had died of Cancer in 2004.

We will miss Tyler very much and are in shock, 
disbelief and unbearable grief"
The family of Tyler

Read On Facebook: Justice For Tyler McMillan

The family of Tyler asked that in place of flowers, donations could be sent to an educational fund set up for Tyler's younger brother:

P.O. Box 2483

Winterville, N.C. 28590

In December of 2008, an autopsy report showed that Tyler had most likely died from dehydration and heat stroke. Also revealed by the autopsy was the fact that Tyler had insect bites all over his body and bruises that seemed to be caused by a rod like instrument. There was also flesh missing from his buttocks and marks on his wrists and 
ankles which show he was tied up with plastic ties. The autopsy report said that Tyler's temperature was 105.6 degrees when he was taken to the hospital. 

The results of the autopsy were released after WRAL television station in Raleigh challenged Judge Franklin R. Brown ordered it sealed, the result of a motion filed by the defense. Layers for WRAL wrote to the judge in October challenging his ruling. 

The dispatcher who took the 911 call on the incident asked Brice and Sandra several times what Tyler was doing before he had stopped breathing. Brice told the dispatcher that Tyler didn't have any medical problems. Towards the end of the call, Brice and Sandra had stopped responding to questions asked by the dispatcher.

Brice and Sandra were scheduled to appear in court again on January 13, 2009. On March 10, 2009, Sandra was released after posting bail on a $200,000. secured bond which had been set by Judge Milton Fitch Jr. of the North Carolina Superior Court. The bond requires Sandra to live with her cousin in Cary and wear an electronic monitor
at all times. Sandra is not allowed to leave the state and would be giving limited visits with her eight year old daughter who lives with her grandparents and will be called as a witness at Sandra's trial. Sandra is allowed to leave her residence ONLY for attorney visits.

Sandra entered a plea of not guilty during her appearance in court in January of 2009. Brice also plead not guilty to charges against him, he is being held without bail. The District Attorney's Office stated that they will not seek the death penalty against Sandra, though they have not said if they will seek it against Brice. A tentative date has been set for trial for Sandra, for July 6, 2009

Tyler's Obituary

GREENVILLE -- Tyler Gene McMillan, 13, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2008, at Heritage Hospital. The funeral service will be conducted Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will be beside his mother in the family cemetery. 

Tyler was born and raised in Pitt County. He began his schooling at Greenville Christian Academy and then attended Trinity Christian School. He grew up attending Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church. Tyler was active in many hobbies. He enjoyed reading, fishing, karate, being a Boy Scout and watching Professional Wrestling. He loved playing outdoors with his cousins. 

He has gone to join his mother, Michelle (Mickie), who preceded him in death. 

He is survived by his father, Brice B. McMillan and stepmother; brother, Ryan Wesley McMillan; stepsister,
Bryanna; paternal grandparents, Sam and Vi McMillan; maternal grandparents, Carl and June Sasser and Dessa Forsythe; and a very large and loving extended family. The family will receive friends at Wilkerson Funeral Home Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. 

In lieu of flowers, donations for an Educational Fund for his surviving brother in the name of Ryan Wesley
McMillan may be sent to P. O. Box 2483, Winterville, NC 28590. Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com 

Obituary for Tyler's birth mother

STARNEWS ONLINE. WHITEVILLE, COLUMBUS COUNTY, 
NORTH CAROLINA.

Mrs. Michelle Sasser "Mickie" McMillan
GREENVILLE, NC - Mrs. Michelle Sasser "Mickie" McMillan, 37, went to be with the Lord Friday, September 24, 2004, at her home.

The funeral service will be conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Jarvis  Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Brown Family Cemetery near Belvoir.

Mickie was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, and grew up in Charlestown, Maryland, and in Wilmington, North Carolina. A 1984 graduate of Laney High School in Wilmington, she moved to Greenville where she received two degrees from East Carolina University: in 1988, a BA degree in Broadcasting Communications, and in 1994, a BS in Mathematics. She was employed at WITN-TV for several years and had taught Math at Wellcome Middle School for 10 years, prior to retiring due to disability in 2003.

Mickie was a member of Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church, where she was active in the Children's Ministry and in the contemporary service. In addition to her work in the children's ministry, she also was a longtime volunteer for the Children's Miracle Telethon. Mickie was a devoted wife and mother, a loving daughter and sister.

She is survived by her husband, Brice McMillan; and sons, Tyler Gene McMillan and Ryan Wesley McMillan, all of the home; father and stepmother, Carl and June Sasser of Wilmington, NC; mother, Dessa S. Forsythe of Charlestown, MD; brother, Brian Sasser; and sister, Shannon Sasser, both of Wilmington, NC; maternal grandmother, Gertrude "Coo-Coo" Starling of Charlestown, MD; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wilkerson Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church, 510 S. Washington Street, Greenville, NC 27834; or to Trinity Christian School, 3111 Golden Road, Greenville, NC 27858.

Wilkerson Funeral Home, Greenville.

UPDATE:

In June of 2009, Brice McMillan and Sandra McMillan were in court after plea deals were made in the case of Tyler. Brice and Sandra were at first charged with first degree murder and felony child abuse, the couple, SICKENINGLY, was allowed to use the Alford plea which allows them to claim their innocence while at the same time, admitting that
there was enough evidence to win a conviction.

Brice was sentenced to ONLY ten to 13 years while Sandra was sentenced to ONLY 13 to 16 years. Brice and
Sandra cried in court as they said they never meant for Tyler to die.

Tyler's maternal grandmother, June Sasser was in court and had this to say:

"I think he's a sorry excuse for a man and I think he's a sorry excuse for a father"

June was not happy about the sentences saying that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to far more:

"He gets 150 years. Two people kill a child in a God awful way, they get ten years?"

June said that she rarely got to see her grandsons after Brice married Sandra and that Sandra had thrown away any reminders of their mother. Brice had called her from jail to tell her about Tyler's death:

"In a very flat, dead, monotone voice he said "Tyler's dead and I've been arrested for first degree
murder and I'm in jail"

When Brice plead guilty, June started a petition and wrote to the District Attorney's Office asking that they NOT offer a deal to Sandra. It was said in court that the Prosecutors offered the couple a deal because it was believed that they did not mean to kill Tyler:

"What did they think was going to happen? Maybe they weren't trying to kill him, but they were sure
trying to hurt him. He was just one of the most sweetest and loving young men I've ever seen"
June Sasser

It is sad that because someone didn't INTEND to kill a child, while abusing them, that they are allowed to get such a light sentence. I feel badly for June and those who actually love Tyler.

I want to thank Sara who took the time to alert me to this update. I appreciate the help I am given with the stories of the children on my site. The group effort helps to keep things current.

Death Occurred in the state of Iowa

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