Round Rock, TX – A man who abducted the children of his murdered roommate has been charged with federal kidnapping offenses, and claimed he took the children after he “came home to something bad,” investigators said.
Fourteen-year-old Lilianais Victoria Cake Griffith and 7-year-old Luluvioletta Mariposo Bandera-Margaret, the daughters of 44-year-old Tonya Bates, were with Miles at the time of his arrest, and are now safe.
Police had been searching for Griffith, Bandera-Margaret, and Miles since Dec. 31, 2017, after Bates’ body was discovered in her home. Investigators learned that Miles and the children were missing, as was Miles’ vehicle.
Investigators said they believe Bates was assaulted and died on Dec. 29, 2017, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Authorities promptly issued an Amber Alert, as law enforcement and members of the public across the country searched for the girls.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Miles was recorded by a surveillance camera at a Round Rock Walmart at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2017. The children were not seen with him.
Miles purchased a 10-person tent, one adult sleeping bag, one child’s sleeping bag, ropes and tarps, among other camping-related items, investigators said.
Shortly after leaving the store, Miles used one of the children’s cell phones to send a text message to his mother at 1 a.m.
“Mom, I left with the kids and came home to something bad I think Tonyas boyfriend,” the text message read. “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.”
Later that day, at 12:14 p.m., an automatic license plate reader near Raton, New Mexico, captured an image of Miles’ vehicle as it traveled north towards the Colorado border.
Police in Round Rock were able to track the girls’ phones on Dec. 31, 2017. Using the phone signals, investigators determined that at least one of the phones was traveling west on U.S. 87 toward Interstate 25, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
During a Wednesday press conference, Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said that law enforcement had received numerous tips from individuals who had reported seeing Griffith, Bandera-Margaret and Miles in southern Colorado.
“We know he was in the southern part of Colorado as late as Dec. 30,” Chief Banks said. He noted that Miles was also recorded by a surveillance camera at an unnamed store in Trinidad, Colorado.
A member of the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office (LACSO) spotted Miles’ vehicle at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, KXAN reported.
The deputy noted that Miles began to drive erratically, which caused the deputy to request backup.
Miles surrendered peacefully, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The children were unharmed, and were in “good spirits,” LACSO Undersheriff Derek Navarette told the Austin American-Statesman.
“They were hungry,” he said. “They wanted pizza.”
According to KXAN, Miles was charged with federal kidnapping offenses on Thursday, adding to his lengthy criminal record.
Miles has a long history of violent offenses dating back to 1995, when he was sentenced to two years in prison in California after he was convicted of an inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant offense in San Bernardino County, KXAN reported.
He was out in less than a year, but was returned to prison twice for parole violations.
In 2002, Miles was sentenced to another two years in prison after he was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant and for threatening to hurt someone. He was released just over a year later, but was returned to the prison on three occasions due to parole violations.
In Louisiana, Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats said that in 2011, Miles attempted to kill a woman he was dating by strangling her, and staged her attempted suicide, KXAN reported.
“He had controlled her mentally and abused her mentally and she had actually filed a false report at the time to say she was raped by a suspect,” Chief Coats said. “But once she got away from his control, she was able to tell the truth — that it wasn’t a rape but a domestic abuse and he tried to strangle her.”
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the second-degree attempted murder charge was dismissed after the victim committed suicide.
Miles was also the suspect in the 2014 murder of Pamela Parker in Sulphur, Louisiana.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso told KXAN that even though a grand jury failed to indict Miles for the Parker’s beating death due to lack of evidence, he still believes that Miles killed her.
“In this particular case in Round Rock it’s also a beating — which is the same manner of death [of Pamela Parker] — which was never disclosed before this time,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “We know that he likes to beat on women, because he’s got several domestic abuse, battery charges.”
Miles is on probation in Louisiana, was a “person of interest” in a rape offense, and has numerous domestic violence charges on his record, KXAN reported.
In September of 2013, he was charged for pornography involving juveniles, but the case was dropped in 2015.
Police and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFS) are working to find the best placement for Griffith and Bandera-Margaret to “ensure their safety and give them the help they need to recover from this ordeal,” DFS spokeswoman Lisa Block told the Austin American Statesman.