Miller County Sheriff Makes Arrests in Child Abuse Cases
MILLER COUNTY- The Miller County Sheriff's Office made three arrests in three cases of child abuse in the past two months, according to press releases sent out Monday.
Detectives from the sheriff's office arrested Steven Walker on December 11, 2013. Walker was charged with statutory sodomy in the first degree for abusing a four year old and was being held in the Miller County Jail on $500,000 bond Monday.
On December 30, 2013, detectives arrested Shane S. Burris. Burris was charged with statutory sodomy in the first degree for the sexual abuse of a 12 year old and was being held on $300,000 bond in the Miller County Jail Monday.
Andrew Puckett faces charges of statutory sodomy in the first degree after detectives arrested him on January 8. The sheriff's office named Puckett a suspect in a sexual abuse case involving a six year old. Puckett was being held on a $100,000 bond in the Miller County Jail Monday.
In all three cases, the Miller County Sheriff's Office reports child advocacy group, Kids Harbor, as playing key roles in the investigations.
"Miller County is a small department; it helps us out a lot," said Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott. " We have a lot of cases down here. It's sad."
According to its website, Kids Harbor Inc. is a non-profit organization that aims to help children and their families who are affected by child abuse. With trained professionals, the organization's services include conducting interviews with children, offering counseling to children and their families, and assisting families in court.
"It is less expensive for a community to conduct child abuse investigations when there's a child advocacy center involved," said Kid Harbor executive director Cara Gerdiman. "When we have that multidisciplinary team approach... the cases are better investigated and the children are receiving all those services they need."
"It's not a thing we just started," said Abbott. "It's an on-going working effort."
Abbott estimates Kid's Harbor has been involved in 152 cases of child abuse in the past three years.