Funeral planned for boy tied to tree

EDGECOMBE COUNTY When Tyler Gene McMillan's father and stepmother make their first court appearance on Monday, friends and family will say a final goodbye to the beloved 13 year old they're accused of killing.

An obituary for the teenager said a visitation was scheduled for Sunday evening along with a memorial service planned for Monday morning.

Investigators say the teenager was tied to a tree by his wrists and ankles, exposed to heat, wildfire smoke and insects on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. When paramedics arrived at his family's ranch-style home in rural Edgecombe County on Thursday afternoon, they found his father desperately performing CPR. Emergency workers say McMillan was unresponsive and was later pronounced dead at Heritage Hospital.

Brice and Sandra McMillan are charged with first degree murder and felony child abuse. As punishment for misbehaving, investigators say the couple tied the teenager to a tree in the backyard, using plastic ties and another material. Two younger children in the home, ages 7 and 9, were placed in protective custody. School officials say they had no record of the children attending local schools. Neighbors say the children were homeschooled.

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