AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Warning: This story contains references to child abuse that may be disturbing to some readers.
New court documents reveal the Airway Heights couple arrested for failure to notify law enforcement of their 8-year-old adopted daughter's death consistently abused her, pulled her out of school in early 2022 and tied her up for multiple hours every day.
Additionally, reports of the couple's treatment of the child were made to local law enforcement and Child Protective Services (CPS). However, CPS caseworkers did not directly respond to the reports and police officers who responded were not able to make contact with the family.
28-year-old Aleksander Kurmoyarov and 33-year-old Mandie Miller were arrested in South Dakota on Thursday charged with one count of failure to notify law enforcement of the death of a child. KREM 2 later learned the couple had a no-bond arrest warrant in Spokane County for homicide by abuse, in relation to the death of Miller's adopted daughter, Meela.
According to court documents, an Airway Heights police sergeant was contacted by a police detective in Mitchell, S.D. on Wednesday afternoon. The detective told the sergeant he was notified of a possible dead 8-year-old girl "with suspicious circumstances" that was transported to Mitchell. The detective said he was trying to get in touch with Kurmoyarov and Miller at a funeral home in Mitchell.
That same day, another police detective in Mitchell was contacted by the Davison County Coroner. The coroner said he was contacted by a funeral home employee and told the funeral home was trying to get in contact with the Meela's family, later revealed to be Kurmoyarov and Miller.
The funeral home employee told police he spoke with Meela's grandmother about burial arrangements and told her it would be best to have the coroner bring the girl's body to the funeral home. He then spoke with Kurmoyarov and Miller about the coroner bringing Meela's body to the funeral home to be buried but said the couple was "really hesitant" about having contact with anyone but the funeral home employee.
Miller reportedly told the employee she was told by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Community Services that she could bring Meela's body to the funeral home with no documentation. When the employee told her she did have to have documentation, he said she seemed "very nervous."
The coroner then contacted Miller and Kurmoyarov about bringing Meela's body to the funeral home. While on the phone, the coroner said the couple claimed to be misinformed about how to handle Meela's body. The coroner told the couple that once they brought Meela's body to the funeral home, she would be embalmed and an autopsy would be completed. The coroner told police Kurmoyarov immediately said he did not want her to be embalmed or have an autopsy.
Documents go on to state Kurmoyarov eventually agreed to bring Meela's body to the funeral home. Miller told the coroner that Meela was already in a casket and they were in Mitchell. After waiting for more than an hour and a half for the couple to arrive, police said it was clear they were not coming.
Police then made contact with Meelah's grandmother at her house, where Kurmoyarov and Miller were found. The couple only told police they were misinformed about how to bring Meelah's body to South Dakota. Miller also told police that Meelah's body was in a casket in the back of a U-haul trailer.
The couple's vehicle and the U-haul trailer holding Meela's body were impounded.
Miller and Kurmoyarov were taken to the police station and interviewed by police. During that interview, Miller told police Meela died on Sept. 10 in their Airway Heights home after choking on a milkshake. She also told police she did not call 911 because she thought it would take too long for an ambulance to arrive.
During Kurmoyarov's interview, he told police they would likely find broken toes during Meela's autopsy because Miller would allegedly hit her toes with a hammer when she was misbehaving. He also admitted to tying Meela up because she was "a handful."
On the day Meela died, Kurmoyarov said he zip-tied her to a car seat for four to six hours.
During the interviews, a Mitchell police detective contacted the Airway Heights Police Department (AHPD), who had Meelah listed in their record system but no report of her death. AHPD told the Mitchell police detective that a welfare check was done on Meelah in August, but "everything was determined to be okay."
In October, however, a victim's advocate went to the couple's home in Airway Heights and "was chased away by Kurmoyarov." According to documents, he then smashed the advocate's car window as they were driving away. No contact was made with Meelah during that visit.
In August, CPS received a complaint from the property manager of the couple's home in Airway Heights. The caller told CPS they had not seen the child in three months. They also said an assessor working to sell the home "saw a child's room with no child in it."
It was also revealed Meela had not been in school since January, according to court documents. Neighbors also reported seeing Meela when the couple moved into the house in May but not anytime after that.
CPS said they would not directly respond to the welfare check, but asked an AHPD officer to conduct one and report their findings. The responding officer did not make contact with Miller or Kurmoyarov because they did not answer the door.
Between February and March, police attempted to make contact with the couple at least five times but were never able to do so because the couple would not answer the door when police knocked.
A missing person report was never made on behalf of Meela.
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