Male suspect in custody, missing girls found safe in Colorado after days-long search

'Our whole goal was to bring these sisters home safe'


Updated Jan. 3 at 9:30 p.m. – Final developments in this story occured after the Jan. 4 print edition of The Taos News went to press and will not be reflected in this week's newspaper.

After a tense several-day search that extended across the Southwest and alerted the country, Terry Allen Miles, a 44-year-old person of interest in the death of a woman in Round Rock, Texas, has been taken into custody in Colorado. Two juveniles he had allegedly abducted, Luluvioletta Mariposa Bandera-Magret, age 7, and her sister Lilianais Victoria Cake Griffith, 14, were found unharmed, Round Rock Police said Wednesday (Jan. 3).

"Many, many hours went into ensuring that these girls were found safe," said Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks during a press conference Wednesday night (Jan. 3).

Banks explained that an Animas County Sheriff followed a tip that led to a vehicle near Trinidad, where the sheriff was able to take Miles into custody without incident and locate the two girls inside the vehicle.

Officers had discovered the body of 44-year-old Tonya Bates at a residence the woman had shared with Miles in Round Rock, Texas on Dec. 31. When Bates' daughters could not be located, authorities initiated an Amber Alert in Texas, which extended to Colorado and New Mexico. Miles was believed to have been traveling with the two girls.

Earlier on Wednesday, Banks had said in another press conference that Miles and the girls had last been seen on a surveillance video captured at a business in Trinidad, Colo., a town just north of the New Mexico border – one day before Bates had been found dead.

Police initially alluded to Miles' extensive criminal record, which includes charges for domestic abuse, pornography involving juveniles and attempted murder, adding an additional layer of urgency to efforts to return the two young girls to safety.

State and federal law enforcement narrowed the search to Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. They recieved numerous tips from around the Southwest, including here in Taos, and from across the country.

This final one, recieved from an unnamed source, led to the conclusion Round Rock Police and other law enforcement agencies were after.

"As we walked around the command center," Banks said with emphasis, "it was never if the girls came home. It was always when the girls came home."