ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Police are still looking for two girls who were last seen Sunday at noon. They say 44-year-old Terry Miles has 7-year-old Luluvioletta Mariposo Bandera-Margret and Lilianais Victoria Cake Griffith, 14. Miles is also a person of interest in a suspicious death of 44-year-old Tonya Bates at the 2300 block of Leslie Court in Round Rock.
Miles was Bates’s roommate. Miles is not charged with any crime as of yet but Round Rock police do believe the girls are not with him “willingly.”
James Reid stumbled upon the crime scene when he came home Sunday night.
“About a good 12 cop cars, a couple K9s, they had all this taped off,” said Reid. “I was speechless at first because that never happened next door to where I live. Usually, you hear it, and it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s somewhere else.'”
Neighbors on Leslie Court said Sunday night was not the first time police showed up to this home. They said officers were looking around the house two days ago before the woman was found dead inside Sunday night. Police say around 10:36 a.m. on Dec. 30, officers went to the home for a welfare check called in by Bates’ coworker. Later, around 8:30 p.m. they returned after Bates’ boyfriend was concerned she and her girls weren’t responding. Both times police did not find anything suspicious, but at some point received information that let them enter the home, where they found Bates’ body.
“They asked me about her and the kids, and I didn’t know too much,” Reid said. “And then when I told them there was an actual man who lived there with them, I guess that’s when they had more police come in to look around and stuff.”
Several neighbors said the house had even more attention two weeks ago. “The complex people actually did come down here because they had a call come in for a domestic dispute, and they thought it was us,” Reid said. “I was like it’s not us, so I guess it was next door.”
Detectives said Miles may be in New Mexico or Southern Colorado. Initially investigators believed he was headed to Louisiana where family friends say he used to live. That is also where he was arrested for attempted second degree murder in 2011. NBC affiliate KPLC reported he beat and strangled his then-girlfriend.
Neighbors are hoping the little girls make it home. “I mean at least find the kids safe, hopefully he drops them off somewhere,” said Reid, who is father to three children.
Miles might be driving a grey 2017 Hyundai Accent with Texas license plate number JGH9845. The vehicle has a hatchback with a white sticker on the upper right-hand corner of the rear window.
If located, police said to not approach him. Instead, contact the Round Rock Police Department at 512-218-5515 or 911.
“At this time our focus is to get these girls home safe,” Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said.
Bates worked at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center as a patient care technician, and the hospital says she will be missed.
“Tonya spent her days caring for patients, and we will carry on her legacy by doing what she loved—caring for our community,” said the hospital’s chief executive officer, Jeremy Barclay. “We are keeping Tonya’s daughters in our thoughts and prayers, along with the law enforcement officers who are working diligently to bring them home safely.”