Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

October 10, 2011

A search for answers

Investigation into death of GC professor James Miller continues

GOSHEN — Police revealed few details Monday about the brutal attack that left a Goshen professor dead and his wife recovering from injuries sustained in an apparent home invasion early Sunday.

James S. Miller, a biology professor with Goshen College since 1980, died at the scene after he and his wife Linda were attacked by an intruder in the couple’s home, Goshen police reported. The Miller residence is two blocks east of Goshen College at 1736 Wildwood Court.

Mrs. Miller’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The attack happened just after 1 a.m. Sunday. Police have not identified any suspects.

An autopsy conducted Monday revealed James Miller suffered “multiple blunt force and sharp force trauma,” according to Elkhart County Coroner John White. The death has been ruled a homicide.

White told The Associated Press he didn’t know what object might have been used to inflict the injuries. He said authorities aren’t releasing yet where on Miller’s body the injuries occurred.

The Millers have three children, two of whom still live at home. None of the children were home at the time of the attack.

Police were alerted to the assault by Mrs. Miller, who called 911 and said she had been attacked by a white male. She suffered numerous wounds and was hospitalized.

Police said the attacker fled the scene before officers arrived.

Investigators spent Monday collecting evidence from the Millers’ ranch-style home. Crime tape circled the entire house and a police investigation van parked in the driveway appeared nearly full Monday morning as police combed through the house and occasionally removed items.

Gay Lehman, who lives on the corner of Wildwood and Mervin Street, said she and her husband Sanford quickly realized something had happened Sunday morning, in part because of a barking dog.

“He heard the noise and we went out. By the time we could even call 911, police were here,” Lehman said.

Police said officers were notified of the 911 call at 1:06 a.m. and arrived at the scene two minutes later.

Details about Mrs. Miller’s condition were not readily available Monday.

A website for Clinton Frame Mennonite Church, where the family attends, indicated her condition was stable and that she was a patient at Memorial Hospital of South Bend. However, a spokesperson for the hospital said no patient by that name was at the facility.

‘You don’t expect it at all’

Wildwood Estates has been virtually crime-free since it was developed about 16 years ago, according to neighbors.

“That’s why this has taken all of us completely by surprise,” Gay Lehman said. “You don’t expect it at all.”

She also described Jim Miller as a gentle soul.

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Lehman said.

John Ingold, a retired Goshen College professor and coach, said he knew James Miller even before they became neighbors 11 years ago because of their work at the college.

Ingold said they occasionally went golfing together and often talked about sports when they’d see each other outside their homes. He said Miller was a big sports fan and enjoyed building model airplanes.

“He had a lot to contribute yet,” Ingold said. “...It’s just so senseless. The situation is really sad because I knew him and his family really well.”

A small floral arrangement was left at the corner of the Millers’ front yard Monday. Placed in between the sunflower blooms and Gerbera daisies was a handwritten note with a simple message: “You’re in our prayers.”

Public safety

With the attacker still at large as of Monday, some local residents expressed concern about public safety. One woman called The Goshen News editorial department asking if it was safe to be walking around the neighborhood near the Miller home.

Likewise, Goshen police said they received several calls from people concerned about their safety. Police offered the following statement:

“We encourage residents now, as always, to follow safety measures such as locking your doors, (not walking) at night alone, and reporting any suspicious activity.

“You know your neighbors and your neighborhood. You know who belongs there. If something feels wrong, call for our assistance. We are here for the residents of Goshen.”

Authorities are asking anyone with knowledge regarding the crime to call Goshen police at 533-8661 or the Michiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-STOP or 288-STOP.

Rare occurrence

Home invasions and murders are a rarity in Goshen.

As far as Goshen Police Chief Wade Branson can remember, the only other home invasion that led to a homicide in his time on the force was Brooke Doriot.

Doriot, 39, a teacher at Goshen Middle School, was murdered July 8, 1996, in her Bashor Road home by Gerald W. Schlabach, a homeless man. He cut through her screen door, unlocked the door and stabbed Doriot several times.

Schlabach was caught not too long after the stabbing in the 600 block of Indiana Avenue by Goshen Ptl. Robert Warstler.

Schlabach later pleaded guilty to murdering Doriot in exchange for the prosecuting attorney not filing a request for the death penalty. He received a life term in prison on Aug. 29, 1996, without the possibility of parole.

Services

A funeral service for Mr. Miller is still being arranged.

Goshen News Staff Writer Sheila Selman contributed to this report.



 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140423 Wakarusa Musical 3 'A Kid's Life' portrays sudden techno loss WAKARUSA — The young people of our present day society don’t remember ever having lived their lives without some element of electronic gadgetry becoming involved. For them, it would be difficult to fathom the possibility of a world “off the grid.” So the fourth- and fifth-grade students of Wakarusa Elementary School will offer a comedic and chaotic interpretation of such a dilemma with their upcoming musical “A Kid’s Life.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 stress relief 03 Furry pals help GC students with dog days of finals GOSHEN - Goshen College students took a break from preparing for final exams to hangout with some four-legged friends Monday afternoon.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 FF spring play_3547 Fairfield students to present Oscar Wilde classic BENTON — Fairfield’s musicals and plays have recently left their status as an extracurricular activity and come under the wing of the Performing Arts Department and under the direction of Andrew Muth.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sheriff Brad Rogers_0657 Sheriff travels to Nev. ranch in fed dispute Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140209 snow storm 05 Elkhart, LaGrange counties denied FEMA aid GOSHEN — Elkhart and LaGrange counties were not among the 19 Indiana counties that had financial aid approved Tuesday by FEMA for a January winter storm.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup BASEBALL Falcons garner road win The Fairfield Falcons posted a 5-4 victory Tuesday evening at Rochester. Dustin Everage (three innings), Andrew Bobeck (three) and Austin Christner (one) pitched for the winners. Everage struck out three to earn the

    April 23, 2014

  • Akela.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Available cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County. These loving animals are looking for permanent homes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN0423 BC IN Common Core Indiana panel approves new school standards

    A panel of Indiana business and education leaders were met with boos and jeers from attendees after they voted overwhelmingly Monday to support new math and English standards set to replace the Common Core in classrooms this fall.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The week in photos

    April 22, 2014

  • GN140421 board of works BOARD OF WORKS: Properties deemed uninhabitable

    Repairs still need to be made to two Goshen properties that had been targeted by the city Board of Public Works and Safety.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs