2 Texas girls, suspected kidnapper sought after mom found dead

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 11:29 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 2:37 PM

Suspected Kidnapper, Two Texas Girls Sought After Mom Found Dead

Police in Texas were searching Wednesday for two young girls who vanished after their mother was found dead in their home over the weekend, and authorities suspect the mother’s roommate of kidnapping the children.

The body of Tonya Bates, 44, was discovered Sunday in her Round Rock home, according to NBC News. Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks classified Bates’ death as suspicious.

Bates’ daughters, Lilianais Griffith, 14, and Luluvioletta Bandera-Magret, 7, were nowhere to be found. The girls lived with their mother and a roommate, Terry Allen Miles.

Miles, 44, is suspected of abducting the girls, Banks said. 

“At this point, we believe that the two daughters are in the presence of Terry Allen Miles,” Banks said at a New Year’s Day news conference. “Our whole focus is to get these girls home safe.”

A statewide Amber Alert issued for the girls was discontinued Wednesday by authorities, who said they had evidence that Miles and the children were no longer in Texas. 

Lilianais is described as about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She has light brown hair and brown eyes, and has braces and a nose stud on the right side of her nose.

Luluvioletta also has brown hair and eyes. She is about 4 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 75 pounds.

Miles is described as 6 feet 2 inches tall and 200 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes, wears glasses and has a beard, the center said

He and the girls may be traveling in a gray, 2017 Hyundai Accent hatchback with Texas tag number JGH9845. The vehicle has a white sticker on the upper right side of the rear window.

Authorities have not determined a motive for Bates’ death or the alleged kidnapping, NBC News reported

Bates worked as a patient care technician at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, where administrators said the staff is grieving their loss.

“As a patient care technician at the hospital, Tonya spent her days caring for patients, and we will carry on her legacy by doing what she loved -- caring for our community,” Jeremy Barclay, CEO of the hospital, said in a statement obtained by the American-Statesman. “We are keeping Tonya’s daughter in our thoughts and prayers, along with the law enforcement officers who are working diligently to bring them home safely.”

KHOU in Houston reported that a possible sighting of Miles and the girls was reported in New Mexico. There was also a possibility that the trio was in southern Colorado.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Miles also has connections to Louisiana, which include multiple domestic violence arrests in Calcasieu Parish, located in the southwestern portion of the state. He was charged with murder in the 2014 death of Pamela Parker in Sulphur, but a grand jury ultimately failed to indict him for the crime. 

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KPLC in Lake Charles reported that Miles remains a person of interest in Parker’s death, as well as in a 2015 rape case. He was also charged with attempted murder in 2011 after he was accused of beating his girlfriend.

“He tried to strangle her and staged a potential suicide by trying to hang her with (a) sheet,” Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats told the news station

The charges in that case were dropped because the witness was unable to testify against Miles, Coats said. 

The police chief said law enforcement there have been dealing with Miles since 2006, when he moved to Sulphur from California to live with his mother. At that time, Miles was on parole in California.

“He’s a man well-known amongst law enforcement for multiple cases of domestic abuse and drugs,” Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told KPLC

Authorities did not disclose Miles’ connection to Bates or her family, but Bates’ Facebook page indicated that she evacuated to the Lake Charles area when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August. 

It was not immediately clear when Miles moved to Round Rock.

2018 SAG Awards: Winner list

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 8:18 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21:  Statue of the Screen Actors Guild Actor is seen at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 27522_009  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner Image)
Dimitrios Kambouris
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: Statue of the Screen Actors Guild Actor is seen at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 27522_009 (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner Image)(Dimitrios Kambouris)

Hollywood stars honored television and cinematic performances at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday. 

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Former Disney star Orlando Brown arrested after family disturbance, police say

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 7:11 PM

Orlando Brown. (Photo: Barstow Police Department)
Orlando Brown. (Photo: Barstow Police Department)

Former Disney Channel star Orlando Brown was recently arrested following what authorities say was a violent altercation at an apartment in California.

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The 30-year-old “That’s So Raven” actor was reportedly engaged in a dispute with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother when an officer from the Barstow Police Department arrived on the scene at around 8 a.m. Thursday.

The officer realized there were active arrest warrants on Brown and his girlfriend’s mother, so they were both arrested and booked into the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Barstow Jail, according to a police press release.

Brown’s bail was set at $25,000.

He previously served time in 2013 after failing to complete court-ordered alcohol education classes in connection with a previous DUI arrest.

John Coleman, The Weather Channel founder, dead at 83

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 5:39 PM

CORRECTS THAT COLEMAN IS AT RIGHT, NOT LEFT - In this July 30, 1981 photo,  John Coleman, weather channel founder, right, and Frank Batten, publisher of the Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, and chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications, Inc., are seen during a news conference in New York. John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel and longtime KUSI weatherman, died Saturdaty night, Jan. 20, 2018, at home in Las Vegas, said his wife Linda Coleman. He was 83.  (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
Marty Lederhandler/AP
CORRECTS THAT COLEMAN IS AT RIGHT, NOT LEFT - In this July 30, 1981 photo, John Coleman, weather channel founder, right, and Frank Batten, publisher of the Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, and chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications, Inc., are seen during a news conference in New York. John Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel and longtime KUSI weatherman, died Saturdaty night, Jan. 20, 2018, at home in Las Vegas, said his wife Linda Coleman. He was 83. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)(Marty Lederhandler/AP)

John Coleman, who helped found and develop The Weather Channel, died Saturday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 83.

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Coleman, a longtime weatherman, innovated the position when he started at Good Morning America, according to the Washington Post. 

Coleman started The Weather Channel in 1981 with Joseph D’Aleo. Coleman left the network and continued forecasting on stations in New York and Chicago. He last worked in San Diego until he retired in 2014, according to the Washington Post

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Service dog, Pluto have magical meeting at Walt Disney World

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 5:41 PM

A service dog met Pluto recently. (Photo courtesy Julian Gavino)
A service dog met Pluto recently. (Photo courtesy Julian Gavino)

What happens when you meet your favorite Disney character for the first time?

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Check out what happened Friday night when Atlas, a service dog, saw Pluto for the very first time up close at Walt Disney World.

With his friend recording, Julian Gavino took his Golden Retriever to meet Pluto Friday night at Epcot.

Gavino told ABC News until this past week, Atlas only knew of Pluto as a giant stuffed doll, because he has one at home that "he loves so much."

But the two hit off when they met as real live dogs.

Gavino posted the video on Facebook and wrote "Atlas was more than excited to meet his best pal look alike."

Gavino, who lives in the Sarasota area, has taken his service dog to Disney about once a week since he got him from New Horizons Service Dogs in Orange City, Florida.