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
  • Mary Alice Miller SILVERTON, Ore. — Mary Alice Miller, born Aug. 9, 1950, near Topeka, LaGrange County, Ind., departed this life following a short illness Tuesday at her home near Silverton. Mary was baptized in her youth upon confession of her faith in Jesus Christ a

    July 31, 2014

  • Gene R. Lowther ELKHART — Gene R. Lowther, 75, died Tuesday at Golden Living Center. He married Mary M. Flynn March 27, 1970, in Elkhart. She survives with two sons, Michael (Pam) Estes and James Estes, both of Elkhart; and two daughters, Donna Estes of Elkhart and

    July 31, 2014

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

  • Rerouting for U.S. 33 lags behind GOSHEN — It looks like the city could start seeing some movement on the planned U.S. 33 rerouting project by as early as next month.That’s the word from Goshen Civil City Engineer Mary Cripe, who spoke on the subject during the annual Goshen City Cou

    July 31, 2014

  • School board OKs contract GOSHEN — The Board of Directors of the Goshen Community School Corp. approved the design-build contract with Ancon Construction of Goshen Wednesday.They approved $12.260 million for the Goshen Middle School piece of construction, said GCS Superintend

    July 31, 2014

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

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN