Apparent mother-daughter murder in Gary

Relative: "I just want my mom"
October 31, 2009 8:19:09 PM PDT
A mother and daughter were found dead inside the home they shared in Gary, Ind.The bodies were discovered late Friday. Gary police say they have interviewed a person of interest in the murders.

"I just want my mom," relative Erica Miller said tearfully.

That was Miller's expression of grief just hours after finding her mother and grandmother dead in the home they all shared in the 700-block of Tyler Street.

"It hurts. It really hurts because this is a quiet community over here, and everybody looks out for each other," neighbor Faye Clark said.

Police are now investigating the deaths of the 79-year-old Lillie Miller and her 52-year-old daughter, Donessa, as a double homicide.

Friends of the victims say Erica Miller came home Friday at approximately 9 p.m. because she was not able to reach her grandmother or mother by phone.

"She said, 'My mother and my grandmother, they're dead. They're in the tub. They're dead.' And she started screaming and hollering, and everybody came out," said family friend Jackie Murphy.

Saturday afternoon, the Lake County, Ind. coroner ruled the cause of death for both women as asphyxiation. While detectives working the case have yet to detail a possible motive for the crime, some residents of the block say they believe the attack was not random but targeted.

"Her tires have been slashed on her car. So, she decided to start parking in the garage,a and the garage was set on fire," the victims' friend Bunnie Flemming said.

A Gary police spokesperson says investigators do not believe it was a random act of violence.

Friends say Lillie Miller, or Momma Miller as she was sometimes called, was a church-going woman who was an active member of her street's block club. They say her daughter and one of her granddaughter's had come to live with her in the home she'd owned for years.

"My mom was a loving person. She never did any harm to anybody. She was caring," Bernice Williamson told ABC7 Chicago.

Gary police have returned to the Miller home to gather more evidence, in hopes of making an arrest.

In the meantime, the relatives of the victims are pleading for anyone with information about the crime to come forward. A small group held a vigil and prayed outside the Miller family's home Saturday afternoon.

Police say the victims were related to a Gary police officer.


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