Son charged with killing father
Body of missing EL man discovered near Yellow Creek
By MICHAEL D. McELWAIN (email@example.com)
POSTED: September 26, 2009 Save | Print | Email | Read comments | Post a comment Email: "Son charged with killing father"
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Agent Larry Hootman with the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation carried a fishing pole tagged as evidence Friday afternoon. East Liverpool resident Shelby Miller was found dead at a fishing spot along Yellow Creek on Thursday evening. His son has been charged with murder. (Photo by Michael D. McElwain)
HAMMONDSVILLE - A murder warrant was issued late Friday against 27-year-old Travis N. Miller, now accused of killing his own father.
The body of Shelby F. Miller, 56, of 102 Boyce St., East Liverpool, was found in Saline Township late Thursday near the bank of Yellow Creek off state Route 213. The body was under some weeds and undergrowth, according to investigators.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said he, a couple of his detectives and members of the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCII) were headed to Anderson County, Tenn., Friday night where Travis Miller was taken into custody.
"The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back of the head," Abdalla said. "We believe we know what the motive is, but I can't reveal that at this time."
Abdalla did say, however, that Travis Miller did not offer a confession.
"The suspect offered no statement that I know of, and I don't want him to do that at all," Abdalla said. "We are going down there to conduct interviews and gather some of the evidence there."
Travis Miller is also accused of stealing his father's pickup truck and taking it to Tennessee where his mother resides.
"We will process the truck and collect any evidence, then drive it back," Abdalla said.
On Friday afternoon, Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Straus sought a warrant charging Travis Miller with murder. He has been charged with auto theft and theft of credit cards as well.
The body of Shelby Miller was discovered Thursday at approximately 7:30 p.m., Abdalla said. The body was then sent to Cuyahoga County for an autopsy.
Abdalla said the initial autopsy report suggests Shelby Miller was shot and died on Monday.
On Wednesday, Shelby Miller's daughter, Ellen E. Anstine, of East Liberty Street in Alliance, went to the East Liverpool Police Department and told officers her father had been missing and not heard from for more than two days.
Travis Miller reportedly told Anstine on the phone that everything was all right, and he and his father were on their way to South Carolina.
However, Anstine did not speak to her father.
"It's unusual, because the father's medications are still at the house," McVay said on Thursday.
Shelby Miller had a stroke and was a diabetic, according to investigators.
Columbiana County and East Liverpool investigators worked the case, and information was gathered about Shelby Miller's favorite fishing spots. One spot ended up being the location along Yellow Creek.
"Some of his friends and others knew about that fishing hole," Abdalla said.
Some family members and friends met up with Salineville Township Officer Charlie Hayes at the rest stop along state Route 213 near state Route 7 at around 7 p.m. Thursday. The group went to the fishing location off Route 213.
"They went down to the spot and saw some loose change around and noticed an odor," Abdalla said. "They pulled some brush aside and discovered the body."
A wallet was gone and the victim's pockets were turned inside out, the sheriff noted.
Meanwhile, the East Liverpool and Columbiana County investigators discovered Travis Miller's mother lives in Tennessee.
"We all worked together and put that information in order at around 2 a.m. this (Friday) morning," Abdalla noted. "We took a long shot and phoned down to authorities in Morgan County, Tennessee."
The mother said her son was in a hospital in Oak Ridge, Tenn., according to Abdalla.
"He was in Methodist Medical Center, and they were getting ready to release him," Abdalla said. "We asked that hospital security detain him."
Later, officers with the Oak Ridge Police Department arrested Travis Miller.
Abdalla did not reveal the exact reason for Travis Miller's hospital stay but said, "We're thinking he went in there for some type of mental evaluation."
Morgan County sheriff's deputies went to Travis Miller's mother's house and located Shelby Miller's stolen pickup truck.
The investigation and evidence collecting continues, Abdalla said Friday. Some 10 agencies in two different states are involved.
"There is some additional evidence they are looking at in Columbiana County," Abdalla said. "I just don't have the manpower to collect it, and all of the agencies have worked well together bringing a quick arrest."
Five agencies in Tennessee, alone, were involved in the investigation.
"They made my job easy," Abdalla noted. "You couldn't have worked this investigation out any better if you had planned it."
As for a possible motive, Abdalla would not comment but said the investigation has produced a strong possibility.
Abdalla said, "We will be able to do that," when asked if there was enough evidence to connect Travis Miller to the murder charge.
The suspect is being held in the Anderson County Jail in Clinton, Tenn., pending extradition.
There are no other suspects in the case, according to Abdalla.
Abdalla praised all of the local and state departments for putting together the pieces and the Tennessee authorities for swift action.