Charges included kidnapping, sex offenses involving a minor
“While it won’t reverse the harm done to these girls, it will allow them to continue the healing process without fear.”—Chief Allen Banks
In Austin on Tuesday, May 21, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced 45-year-old Terry Allen Miles to life in federal prison for kidnapping two minors and taking them to Colorado, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks.
“Today justice was delivered to Terry Miles for his despicable crimes against children,” U.S. Attorney Bash said. “Unfortunately this is only one particularly high-profile example of the sort of abuse happ
ening in every community across our country. It won’t stop until policymakers at all levels prioritize child safety.”
On Feb. 12, 2019, jurors found Miles guilty on two counts of kidnapping, one count of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sex with her, and one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in sex with a minor. Evidence presented during trial revealed on December 30, 2017, Round Rock Police officers conducted a welfare check at the residence of Tonya Ellen Bates because she had not shown up for work that day as expected. The officers subsequently discovered Bates’s body inside the residence. Bates was the only individual at the residence at the time of the welfare check and Bates’s 2017 Hyundai Accent was missing. Further investigation revealed that Miles, who had lived with Bates and her two young daughters, may have kidnapped the daughters, whose whereabouts were unknown.
“Round Rock is a safer place with Terry Miles scheduled to serve a well-deserved, lengthy prison sentence,” Chief Banks said. “While it won’t reverse the harm done to these girls, it will allow them to continue the healing process without fear. This would not have been possible without the collaboration of the U.S Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Round Rock Police Department, and other Local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies.”
Bates’ death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma. Testimony at trial indicated that Miles likely killed Bates by bludgeoning her on the head with a heavy flashlight. DNA evidence indicated that Bates’ blood was found on one of Miles’ sneakers.
RRPD officers obtained cell phone information on the children’s two phones. One of the phones was located in a heavily wooded area adjacent to a Wal-Mart store located in Round Rock. Surveillance video from the Wal-Mart showed what appeared to be Miles purchasing numerous camping-related items and then leaving the store in a vehicle appearing to match Bates’s vehicle. The vehicle and a cell phone belonging to one of the minors were subsequently traced heading to Colorado. Evidence from security cameras and phone records showed the route Miles took from Round Rock to southern Colorado.
On Jan. 3, 2018, deputies with the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office arrested Miles during a traffic stop near La Veta, Colorado. The two minors, ages 7 and 14, were found with Miles in the vehicle he took from Round Rock.
Testimony elicited during trial also revealed that Miles repeatedly engaged in sexual relations with the 14-year-old girl over a five-month period prior to being arrested. DNA evidence indicated that Miles was the source of semen found in the 14 year old’s underwear that she was wearing at the time she was found. Miles was also shown to be the source of semen found on a towel at the remote campsite where they hid out after arriving in Colorado.
“Today, a violent criminal has been sentenced and is off the streets, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the agents, task force officers and analysts on the FBI Austin Child Exploitation Task Force, working with our law enforcement partners here in Texas and in other states as well,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said. “Thankfully, in this case, the two child victims were recovered and are safe now. We are committed to preventing violent crimes against children and to bring those who harm them to justice.”
The FBI and the Round Rock Police Department conducted this investigation. The U.S. Marshals Service – Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, Texas Rangers; Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force; Williamson County (TX) District Attorney’s Office; United States Attorney’s Office – District of Colorado; New Mexico State Police Department; Las Animas County (CO) Sheriff’s Office; Southern Colorado Safe Streets Task Force; Colorado State Patrol; Trinidad (CO) Police Department; Colorado Bureau of Investigations; Huerfano County (CO) Sheriff’s Office; Archuletta County (CO) Sheriff’s Office; Pagosa Springs (CO) Police Department; Rio Grande County (CO) Sheriff’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation in Colorado; Durango (CO) Police Department; La Plata County (CO) Sheriff’s Office; Child Protective Services in Texas and Colorado; and, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Devlin and Michelle Fernald prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.