DALLAS (AP) — A Texas man wanted for questioning in the death of a woman and the abduction of her two daughters has been charged with kidnapping.
Terry Allen Miles, 44, was arrested in a remote area of southern Colorado Wednesday evening after several tips of sightings had been reported there. The two girls, ages 14 and 7, were recovered safely and taken to a hospital to be checked for injuries.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a news release Thursday that Miles had been charged with kidnapping. A call to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver, where Miles made his first appearance in court Thursday afternoon, was not immediately returned.
Law enforcement officials have been looking for Miles as a person of interest in the death of the girls’ mother, Tonya Bates.
Co-workers called police in Round Rock, about 20 miles north of Austin, Texas, to ask that they check on Bates when she did not show up for work Saturday. An officer found Bates dead from apparent blunt force trauma.
An affidavit submitted by an FBI special agent seeking kidnapping charges against Miles says police contacted Bates’ family, who told them Bates’ daughters lived with her and she had a roommate, who they identified as Miles.
Police issued an Amber Alert for the girls, noting they could be with Miles and could be driving in Bates’ car, which was also missing from her home.
Special Agent Sean Mullen wrote in the affidavit that Miles’ mother had received a text message from him about 1 a.m. Saturday using one of the daughters’ cellphones. According to the affidavit, the text read, “Mom I left with the kids and came home to something bad I think Tonyas boyfriend. I cant talk now tonya was involved in some bad stuff I will talk to you later when im safe these guys are crazy Mexicans.”
Law enforcement officials tracked the girls’ phones, finding one in the woods near a Wal-Mart in Round Rock. Surveillance footage from the store showed Miles buying camping gear, including a 10-person tent, rope and tarps, then leaving in a vehicle that matched Bates’ car.
The other daughter’s phone showed a location near two cell towers in New Mexico on January 1. A license plate reader also captured a picture of the car travelling toward Colorado.
Law enforcement officers in several Colorado cities and counties checked hotels in the area after receiving multiple reports of sightings.
Deputy Chief Jay Harrison of the Trinidad Police Department in Colorado said Miles may have been camping near Stonewall.
He said deputies and officers had been looking for Miles in the remote area near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains about 24 miles west of Trinidad, Colorado, Wednesday evening. After he was spotted, authorities said he began to drive erratically.
After more deputies arrived, Harrison said they were able to pull over Miles and take him into custody without any problems.
According to Louisiana court records, Miles is on probation from a 2015 domestic violence conviction and a 2014 conviction for possession of stolen goods.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told the Austin American-Statesman that Miles had a history of domestic violence arrests and convictions. He was convicted two other times in 2009 and 2011 on domestic violence charges.
Mancuso said Miles is still a person of interest in the 2014 homicide of the mother of a woman he was dating and living with at the time. He was also charged with second-degree attempted murder for trying to suffocate a woman he was dating in 2011 and allegedly staging a suicide scene.
The 2011 charges were dropped when that woman committed suicide before she could testify.
“He will live with a woman until she’s had enough, then he beats up on her and moves on and finds another victim,” Mancuso said.
Miles was also convicted twice in California with of injuring a spouse or cohabitant, in 1995 and 2002.
Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.