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Parents who fled after 10-year-old daughter was killed in house fire arrested

The pair face charges of cruelty to children in the first and second degree and false imprisonment in connection with the fire at their home.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County couple who went on the run after their 10-year-old daughter died in a house fire allegedly set by their 15-year-old son have been arrested, police said Thursday.

According to the Gwinnett County Police Department, 47-year-old William McCue and 38-year-old Carina McCue were arrested after a two-month search.  

The pair face charges of cruelty to children in the first and second degree and false imprisonment in connection with the fire at their home.

RELATED: Parents of 10-year-old killed in Gwinnett house fire nowhere to be found, Gwinnett Police say

Warrants accuse the parents of not allowing their children to leave the property for most of their lives, preventing the children from receiving an education. They also allegedly deprived them of basic medical care, nutrition and hygiene for years.

Their 15-year-old son admitted to igniting the flames April 17 while his siblings were home, according to Gwinnett police. The fire killed his 10-year-old sister. Three siblings have since been placed in foster care.

The teen faces charges of malice and felony murder.

In a statement, Gwinnett County Sheriff Keybo Taylor said the two-month search for the parents involved "multiple jurisdictions where the suspects continuously evaded law enforcement."

Ultimately they were located by fugitive investigators in Helen, Georgia, and are now in custody in the Gwinnett County Jail.

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services also opened a case against the parents, accusing them of neglect.

In court documents, the agency claimed the couple's children hadn't been in school for years or showered for months and their home had no sewage system. Documents claimed the children were forced to use buckets to relieve themselves.

During the family's last court hearing, a caseworker described finding a human bitemark on one child's inner thigh and 10 whip marks on another. The McCues were not present for the hearing.

A neighbor of 25 years, Mike Kilgore, told 11Alive in May he had only ever spoken to them twice.

“It was kind of like some kind of cult. I'm not surprised at all they're on the run," Kilgore said at the time, with police still searching for the parents. “I hope the kids get the teaching they need, and I hope their mommy and daddy get what they deserve.”

Investigators brought charges against the parents after collecting evidence following the fire, citing unsanitary and dangerous living conditions and how they found the young girl dead in a bathtub with makeshift bedding.

Editor's note: Authorities clarified that the two were arrested in Helen, Georgia. This story has been updated to reflect that change.


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