Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said, “It was an unspeakable act of depravity.” Three Walmart employees and three children lived in a mobile home park near Philadelphia in an interesting living arrangement: 23-year old Gary Lee Fellenbaum, his estranged wife and her 11-month old daughter, his new girlfriend, 31-year old Jillian Tait, and her two boys. The abuse that unfolded was likened to “an American horror story.”
All three adults have been arrested after the death of Tait’s three-year old son, Scott McMillan. Scott was beaten to death with various items including a whip, a frying pan, an aluminum strip, and a curtain rod. While Scott and his sibling, Ryan, allegedly suffered much abuse throughout the years, the abuse that led to Scott’s death began when the three-year old would not eat his breakfast.
Fellenbaum and Tait confessed to abusing the boy; abuse that included taping him to a chair with electrical tape and beating him, hanging him up by his feet and beating him, smashing his head through a wall numerous times, and whipping him, all throughout a three day period. Hogan said that when Scott was brought into the hospital, the emergency room nurses wept.
Tait made a statement to police that not only did Fellenbaum beat her boys on numerous occasions with a closed fist but that on one occasion he strung the boys up by their feet and beat them while Fellenbaum and her laughed. Tait’s six-year old son escaped his brother’s fate and is now living with relatives free from the torture he previously knew.
Fellenbaum and Tait have both been charged with murder and Hogan says he will be seeking the death penalty. They are both being held without bail. Fellenbaum’s estranged wife, Amber, is also in jail being held on a $500,000 bail. She has been charged with child endangerment for not contacting police during the abuse. She did, however, finally call 911 when the child stopped breathing.
One of the more disturbing facts of the case is that authorities stated there were no signs of drug use in the home. This was not an incident of abuse occurring due to bad decisions while high or intoxicated – it was simply actions of individuals acting with complete evil and disregard. To add insult to injury, Hogan says the couple engaged in everyday activities while little Scott McMillan lie dying; they went shopping, ordered pizza, took a nap, and had sex.