NEW CASTLE, Pa. - A New Castle man appeared in court Thursday on child rape and pornography-related charges after a woman found images of him molesting a child -- on an electronic notepad computer the suspect sold to her at a flea market, police said.
Police were alerted to the images by Kayla Petronelis, who said she found them stored in the device when she used it to take a photo of her own daughter.
“I opened it up Christmas morning and my daughter was excited. I wanted to take a picture of her, but I found all these sexually explicit videos,” Petronelis told Channel 11’s Amy Marcinkiewicz on Thursday.
Petronelis told police she bought the device at an Ohio flea market from a man who told her he was from New Castle.
Donald A. Miller, 43, was charged and turned himself in after police examined the device and found seven videos of Miller performing sex acts with an 8-year-old girl, plus some still photos.
“The images are burned into my memory,” Petronelis said.
Police searched Facebook and other records to identify Miller and searched the residence where they thought he lived, only to be told by the woman who lived there that she had thrown Miller out of the house days earlier.
Police identified the girl in the videos, and she was taken into custody of Lawrence County Children and Youth Services. Police also had code enforcement officials board up the house as uninhabitable after determining it had no heat and sewage backed up into the basement.
Police are crediting Petronelis with saving the girl’s life.
“I know what I did saved this girl’s life. This is tough,” Petronelis said.
All charges were waived to court. Miller faces charges of child rape and several counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault of a child, indecent assault and computer child pornography charges.
Police said they’re looking for two additional suspects because a woman was seen in one of the videos and someone else’s voice was heard in another.