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Burned-down property involved in murder case now causing problems for neighbors

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GONZALES - Sarah Miles and her husband, Tom, have happily lived on Tom Miles Road in Gonzales for more than 60 years.

They enjoyed living there until 2015, when an arson nextdoor caused a mess adjacent to their property.

“I have a lot of grand kids. And we can't let them come out here and play because we don't know when they're going to run up on a snake,” Sarah Miles said.

Although officials acknowledge they received a complaint about the property back in 2016, they say the parish would have to argue the property is a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public. And according to the families who live nearby, it is a threat.

“I been dealing with snakes, rats, horseflies, roaches,” said Miles. “You get up in the morning time and you walk in, you're gonna see a dead roach on the floor."

The Miles family says it wants the house cleaned up. Although they have reached out to the parish government for help, the answer is always the same.

"Every time you call somebody about it, they can't do nothing about it," Tom Miles said.

According to Ascension Parish, they have refrained from condemning the property until the court cases involving the arson are finished, which could take years.The Miles family says it does not have that kind of time.

“I want the parish to come in and get this house down and get this grass cut, because they got people that live behind me back there,” Miles said.

The man who owns the property, David McLaughlin, was charged with felony arson and second-degree homicide. He and two other men charged in the case are still awaiting trial.

News 2 requested an on-camera interview with parish officials, but they declined to comment.

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