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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

[PA] Help came TOO LATE for Bonnie, wife of retired Springettsbury career cop Kenneth Miller

...Police say around 4pm Monday, 68 year old Bonnie Miller contacted out-of-state relatives and said she had locked herself in her basement and that she feared for her life. At 6:50pm, police came to the home, entered it, and heard what they thought was a single gunshot. They immediately retreated and waited for the York County Quick Response Team to arrive... Bonnie L. Miller brought up the subject of her own death just last week, telling a family member she'd lived a full life... Kenneth Miller is a retired police Sergeant with the Springettsbury Township Police Department. Chief David Eshbach says Miller lead the Department's criminal investigation unit and filled in as Police Chief for a period of time...



POLICE INCIDENT IN SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/04/2009 08:55:13 AM EDT
Law enforcement officials from multiple jurisdictions have responded to a police incident in the areas of Locust Grove Road and Old Orchard Road in Springettsbury Township. Springettsbury Township Police report the incident was a murder-suicide. [LINK]



EXCERPT FROM ARTICLE'S TOPIX COMMENT"

"...I have a family member there I am very concerned about. Has been in a very bad place due to the economy and various events, and am very concerned..." [LINK]


FORMER SPRINGETTSBURY POLICE OFFICER KILLS WIFE, HIMSELF
By MIKE HOOVER
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/04/2009 11:52:12 PM EDT
[Excerpts] Fearing for her life, Bonnie L. Miller locked herself inside the basement of her Springettsbury Township home and called a relative for help. By the time police arrived, her husband, Kenneth R. Miller, had taken the family's dog, Suzie, to a neighbor's home and had shot his wife in the head. Springettsbury Township police who went into the home to investigate the call heard a single gunshot - believed to be the suicide blow fired by Kenneth Miller, a retired Springettsbury Township sergeant. Kenneth Miller, 70, and his wife, Bonnie, 68, each died of single gunshot wound to the head from a handgun... Kenneth Miller was diagnosed about a year ago with Alzheimer's disease... Miller was a veteran officer who served Springettsbury Township from January 1972 to May 1998. He served as interim police chief in 1997... [Springettsbury Township Police Chief David] Eshbach declined to discuss his former colleague, saying the timing was inappropriate because the focus should be on the Miller family. Police said Bonnie Miller called a relative in another state about 4 p.m. Monday for help. Police learned about 6:50 p.m. of the call and went to the home immediately, Eshbach said. He said he did not know why there was such a delay between the time the relative received the call and the time police were notified. After repeated attempts to contact Kenneth Miller, police entered the home and heard one gunshot shortly afterward. Police retreated from the home and set up a perimeter as they waited for the York County Quick Response Team, police said. Shortly after midnight, after several hours of attempting to contact anyone inside, the team entered the home and found the Millers dead... Before he filled in as interim chief, Miller was in charge of criminal investigations for the department, Eshbach said. The chief said the last time he saw Miller was in December at an event celebrating the police department's 50th anniversary. Lisa Reilly, who lives across from the Miller home, said would see Bonnie Miller walking their dog and Kenneth Miller working in the yard... Reilly said she noticed police about 7:30 p.m. Monday. About 11 p.m., a police officer came to the door and asked her family to leave. If they had nowhere else to go, the officer said, they should take cover in their basement. She heard police with bullhorns try to talk Miller out... Quick Response Team members took up positions in her yard and around the house. About midnight or 12:30 a.m., she said, her family was told it was all clear... [Full article here]

DAUGHTER: MURDER-SUICIDE VICTIM WAS CARING PERSON
By Tom Joyce
York Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/04/2009 06:32:09 PM EDT
[Excerpts] Bonnie Miller was a very caring person -- too much so for her own good sometimes, her daughter said Tuesday. Julianne Wernig of Dallastown, said that, about 15 years ago, for example, she did volunteer work for rape victims. Miller would get a call in the middle of the night and head out to the hospital to talk to the victims, helping them through those traumatic first hours... On Tuesday, Wernig got a call from the hospital. They wanted to use her eyes for in the organ donor program. "She can help people that way," Wernig said. "That's what my mom would have wanted."... Miller had worked as a bookkeeper for several different local companies over the years, Wernig said. About 17 years ago, she met Kenneth Miller through mutual friends. When Kenneth Miller retired about 10 years ago, the couple moved several times. First, they moved to Delaware, then to Florida. Three hurricanes later, Bonnie Miller decided she'd had enough. They lived in Arizona for a little while, helping Wernig's brother take care of his children. Then Kenneth Miller was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease about a year ago. They moved back to Pennsylvania because more family lived here and they thought they might need the support. They moved into the house Bonnie Miller had been born in and which her son had owned in the intervening years. Wernig said that Kenneth Miller's Alzheimer's didn't seem pronounced yet. He had his good days and his bad days, she said. Occasionally, he had trouble keeping people's names straight, but he seemed lucid more often than not. Wernig said her mother never gave her or her siblings any indication Kenneth Miller might be dangerous... [Full article here]

HUSBAND WAS 'A GREAT FAMILY MAN'
By RICK LEE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/04/2009 06:31:36 PM EDT
[Excerpts] York County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Witmer recalled Kenneth Miller as a focused and tenacious police officer, the type of officer "you wanted to emulate... He would never intentionally hurt anyone, and he loved Bonnie. He was really devoted to his daughter, a great family man... He instilled the proper ethics in you and he was dedicated to doing it right and as efficiently as possible... He was one of my mentors and one of the people I tried to be like"... Witmer said Miller lived his dream of becoming a police officer, leaving private industry at a later age to become an officer. Witmer and Miller were two of the first three officers to fill the newly created corporal position. Miller was the first to be promoted to sergeant. "He had a tenacity to do what he had to do," Witmer said... [Full article here]

MURDER SUICIDE INVESTIGATION
whptv.com
Last Update: 8/05 9:55 am
[Excerpts] ...Police say around 4pm Monday, 68 year old Bonnie Miller contacted out-of-state relatives and said she had locked herself in her basement and that she feared for her life. At 6:50pm, police came to the home, entered it, and heard what they thought was a single gunshot. They immediately retreated and waited for the York County Quick Response Team to arrive. After several hours of surveillance, the Quick Response Team went back inside and found both Bonnie Miller and her 70 year old husband, Ken Miller, dead in the basement - each with one gunshot wound to the head... Kenneth Miller is a retired police Sergeant with the Springettsbury Township Police Department. Chief David Eshbach says Miller lead the Department's criminal investigation unit and filled in as Police Chief for a period of time in 1997... The Springettsbury Township Police Department says it could not talk about Ken Miller's work as a member of the force or discuss him personally, as the Department investigates the murder-suicide... "Kenny was always there to serve the community. Obviously, he worked very close with his colleagues. I'm sure this is a tremendous shock to the Springettsbury Township Police Department and all of those who have ever met Kenny," says State Representative Keith Gillespie... [Full article here]

POLICE, FAMILY SEEK ANSWERS IN SPRINGETTS MURDER-SUICIDE
The York Dispatch
Elizabeth Evans levans@yorkdispatch.com
Posted: 08/05/2009 10:49:16 AM EDT
[Excerpts] Bonnie L. Miller brought up the subject of her own death just last week, telling a family member she'd lived a full life. "She told my sister-in-law ... 'I don't want to sound morbid, but when I die I don't want anybody to cry. I want everybody to celebrate my life, because I've had such a good life,'" said her daughter, Julianne Wernig of Dallastown... About 4 p.m. Monday, Bonnie Miller called a family member in North Carolina and said she was locking herself in her basement because she feared for her life, police said. About 5:30 p.m., Ken Miller took the family dog, Suzie, to a neighbor's home, according to police and Wernig. When the neighbor asked if the Millers were going away, he said, "Yeah, you could say that," according to Wernig. Cops respond: Police weren't notified about Bonnie Miller's call to her daughter until about 6:50 p.m., and officers immediately responded to the Millers' home in the 4000 block of Wilshire Drive, Eshbach said. But there was no response from inside. Between about 7:30 and 8 p.m., officers went inside to try to make contact with the Millers, but backed out after hearing a single gunshot, the chief said. York County's Quick Response Team was called in to handle what police had to assume might be a standoff, Eshbach said. Between midnight and 1 a.m. Tuesday, QRT members went inside and found the Millers dead, he said. Wernig said it was her sister, Robin Wittes, who got the call from Bonnie Miller. Wittes called her siblings but got no answer on their phones, Wernig said, and also tried to call their mom. "But Ken wouldn't let my mom use the phone ... he would hang up," Wernig said. Wernig said neither she nor her siblings ever expected anything like this to happen. "This is the kind of thing that happens to other people," she said... At the time of Ken Miller's retirement, Eshbach, in a York Dispatch story, called him "one of the great teachers that we had the honor to be taught by." Ken Miller has a daughter from a previous marriage, Kristin Lynch of Colorado... Bonnie Miller has four children from a previous marriage: Wernig, 48; Wittes, 49, of Calabash, N.C.; David Jacobs, 44, of York; and James Jacobs, 41, of Charlotte, N.C. A 1958 graduate of Central York High School, Bonnie Miller was the type of person who always wanted to help those in need, according to Wernig... She did work for a rape crisis center, going to hospitals in the middle of the night to comfort rape victims. She played organ for a local church, organized her 50th high-school class reunion and played cards regularly with a group of friends, Wernig said. Wernig said she's still trying to come to grips with the tragedy. "It's not real yet," she said... [Full article here]
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