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Mays Landing women released in attack on 11-year-old girl

A Mays Landing couple accused in a brutal attack one’s 11-year-old daughter were released from jail with conditions Tuesday.
Nicole Miller, 32, and her wife, Heather Grosso, 36, appeared via video from the Atlantic County Justice Facility in separate detention hearings.
They both face charges of simple assault and second-degree child endangering in the attack last Tuesday inside a vehicle that also included three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15.
Miller is additionally charged with third-degree assault for the attack that left her daughter with bruises, bites, swollen eyes and a bald patch from where her hair was pulled out of her head, Assistant Prosecutor Deirdre Laws told the judge.
But the state’s narrative is based upon hearsay from the victim’s godmother, who was not in the vehicle, defense attorney John Maher argued.
He then read from the accounts of the victim’s 15-year-old sister and one of the other children in the car who said that it was the 11-year-old girl who struck Grosso as she drove, and tried several times to engage her in a fight.
The girl “started going wild, hitting Miss Miller and Miss Grosso,” Maher read from one statement. “Grosso did not hit (the victim).”
Hearsay is permissible in finding probable cause, the judge said.
“I don’t know what happened in that car,” Judge John Rauh said.
The public safety assessments for both women recommended their release. The PSA is what is used under bail reform to help determine whether a defendant is held or release while their case goes through the court system.
Due to no criminal history, Grosso had the lowest score possible on her PSA. Miller’s only prior charge was a disorderly persons offense back in 2008 for writing a bad check, according to the hearing.
Miller, who appeared to wipe away tears several times during the hearing, is additionally charged with filing a false report and hindering apprehension.
She allegedly called police to the Pleasantville home of the victim’s godmother pretending to be the woman’s grandmother and saying that a man was vandalizing her car.
When Pleasantville police arrived, they were told that the girl had been attacked and was missing. She was found at a nearby playground.
Miller and Grosso will be released Tuesday. Neither can have contact with the victim, who is under the care of a family member.
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency is involved.

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