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News   Saturday, June 16, 2007

Murder charges filed in woman's death

By Eric Fodor
Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2007 3:08 PM CDT
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HARRISBURG - Arnulfo Fonseca was charged with murder Wednesday afternoon in connection with the June 6 death of Ashleigh Miller, who suffered injuries May 28 and was listed in critical condition for several days before she died at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind.

Fonseca, 35, 221 S. Granger St., Harrisburg, was taken into custody 5:45 p.m. Wednesday. He remains held at the Saline County Detention Center on $1,000,000 -- $100,000 cash -- bond.

Formal charges filed by State's Attorney David Nelson accuse Fonseca of striking Miller, 25, in the head and causing her death.

Nelson could not immediately be reached for comment on the case.

Fonseca and Miller had a relationship prior to her death. They jointly owned a Ford Explorer and Fonseca described himself as the father of her child during the course of the investigation.

The child was listed in Miller's obituary as Mackenzie Kathleen Fonseca.

Miller's half-brother, Caleb Reid Miller, 20, Harrisburg, was formally charged on June 6 with obstructing justice in connection with the case. Police believe he provided false information, according to Chief Deputy Todd Fort.

The incident that led to Ashleigh Miller's death apparently took place in Carrier Mills, but a search warrant executed June 5 paints a strange story.

Fonseca carried Miller into Harrisburg Medical Center about 10:30 p.m. May 28 with a head injury. Fonseca told Veneta D. Warren, who was working at the time, he received a phone call from an unknown person saying Miller had fallen out of the bed of a moving pickup truck and he needed to pick her up, according to court documents.

Warren told sheriff's deputies Miller was dressed in a thong bikini and had blood on her. Fonseca told Warren he was "her baby's daddy," when asked about his relationship to Miller, according to court documents.

Miller had lacerations around her head and a scrape on one side of her upper hip or buttocks area, Warren reported, according to court documents.

Miller was transferred to Deaconess Hospital in a coma-like state, according to court documents.

Miller's brother, Caleb, also showed up at HMC. He told Warren that Ashleigh Miller called him about 9:30 p.m. and asked him to come to Centerfield Bar and Grill and drink a beer with her. Caleb Miller apparently declined the invitation.

Deputy Mike Jones spoke with Mike Jack, the nurse on duty in the HMC emergency room May 28. Jack said he saw three sets of two parallel marks about 1/8 inch in length on Miller's head, according to court documents. Jack also told Jones she was very combative. She was wearing a blue bikini.

During the course of the investigation, Jones learned Caleb Miller said the bikini she was wearing did not belong to her -- he does her laundry. He said she owns a yellow bikini, according to court documents.

Fonseca had earlier told Jack he had been called to pick up Miller, who was thrown or jumped from a moving vehicle.

Dr. Wroten McQuirter was on duty the night of the incident. He told Jones that Miller had scrapes on her back, right upper leg and hip area. McQuirter told Jones she could have jumped or been thrown from a vehicle, but there should be more abrasions. The abrasions did not show up immediately, but showed up when the staff was working on Miller, McQuirter said.

He also told Jones the bikini was clean and the strings were perfectly tied.

Mike Stacey was working as a security officer at HMC on May 28. He was outside when Fonseca pulled up and carried Miller into the hospital. Fonseca told Stacey that Miller called him and said she was jumping out of a car, Stacey told Jones. Fonseca told Stacey he picked up Miller where the road "Y's" at East End Street in Carrier Mills, according to court documents.

Stacey stated Fonseca had a lot of blood on him, in contrast to Warren, who told deputies Fonseca did not have much blood on him.

On June 1, Jones went to Centerfield Bar and Grill and spoke with Mike Sisco, who said he was in the bar on May 28 and saw Miller with a man.

He stated she was not wearing a bikini, but was wearing khaki-type shorts and a brown shirt - items that later were found in Fonseca's vehicle. She appeared to be intoxicated and was getting loud, according to court documents.

On June 2, Jones found a 2000 Ford Explorer belonging to Fonseca and Miller in the HMC parking lot. The Explorer was locked, but Jones noticed what appeared to be blood on the center console and passenger front seat. There was clothing in the floorboard. Jones ordered the vehicle towed to the Saline County impound yard as evidence.

The clothing in the floorboard matched the clothing seen on Miller at Centerfield, Jones stated in court documents.

Jones seized several items from the Ford Explorer during his search, including faded camouflage shorts found on the passenger side floorboard; a brown tank top found on the passenger side floor board; two flip-flops found on the passenger side floor board; a hair brush found in the rear pouch; a blue bandanna in a purse found in the back seat; and the key to the vehicle, which was found in a compartment.

Two sterile swabs "taken on the center console (and) from the running board" and a sterile scalpel "with skin and a blood sample" taken "from the front console of the 2002 Ford Explorer" were also listed as evidence in the search warrant.

An autopsy of Miller's body was conducted in Vanderburgh County, Ind. on June 7.

Ashleigh Miller's birthday would have been yesterday.


Comments are limited to 200 words or less.

H wrote on Jun 16, 2007 3:08 PM:

" Okay first of all i dont know any of them but the story sounds kind of i cant really point fingers nobody can actually cuz they dont people that says that oh he couldnt have done it he loved her...hey how many serial killers are out there and nobody knew it because "they were a nice person"..nebody can kill somebody and if he did do it..i believe eye for a eye..i feel so bad for their daughter. now she has to grow up wondering what her mother was like. "

friend of ashley wrote on Jun 16, 2007 12:13 PM:

" We all know that arnold has had some past experiences where he chose the wrong road, but to say he killed the mother of his own daughter is ridiculous it takes a cold hearted psycho idiot to do somethin like that. I love ashley to death but come on now arnold did not do that. If he did it then why would he have rushed her to the hospital don't you think that he might've tried to hide the body or somethin? "

brianna wrote on Jun 16, 2007 11:40 AM:

" I think that God has a plan for Arnolnd. I really don't think Arnold would kill Ashleigh. I knew the couple and he loved her with all his heart. Nobody needs to judge him when you don't know him or knows what happened. Only God knows the real story. "

Former Resident wrote on Jun 16, 2007 9:21 AM:

" As someone who knew Arnold from an early age, I can see that this is a charged and polarizing ordeal, not only for the families, but for the entire town of Harrisburg and environs. I remember when I lived there, out on Barnett Street, how the smallest things would be blown up to gargantuan proportions, while the things that REALLY needed attention were all too often, swept under the rug by the "good ol' boy network"... Arnold was certainly NO angel, and perhaps, neither was Ashleigh....but the record clearly shows Arnolds' past violent tendencies, especially where women are involved, and combine that with the chronic drug and alcohol abuse they shared, and it's a recipe for disaster. My prayers go out to all, but I can't say I'm shocked; I knew Arnold would come to a crossroads, sooner or later. And he is. Selah.... "

MAD2 wrote on Jun 16, 2007 7:44 AM:

" I would have to agree with what mad said about the race issue. I agree with everything they said. NICELY PUT mad. "

hbg alumni wrote on Jun 15, 2007 9:37 PM:

" i went to highschool with arnold = he seemed to always chose the long, hard wrong path. I think the previous comment of "check his legal status" is completely tacky. as a victim of past domestic violence myself, people that were close to this couple KNOW it occured. You knew and probably did NOTHING- shame on you. This could have occured in front of the child or could have involved her in some way- Praise God it did not. I can easily see an argument occuring and him not being able to stop himself. A split second in time and then its too late... Has anyone asked Nikki if her bikini is missing??? "

JUDY wrote on Jun 15, 2007 3:56 PM:


resident25 wrote on Jun 15, 2007 3:55 PM:

" let's be honest here...neither one was a saint. drugs, alcohol, violence...this stuff was routine a lot of the time. neither one had a great history. we don't know what happened here and everyone is so quick to judge from hearsay. if he did it, put him away forever! if he was in any way involved or could have prevented her death...put him away! the bottom line is, only they will know. when you put 2 people like that together, rarely do good things happen. it is a very unfortunate situation for ashleigh and the baby and the family. i hope the truth is told and justice is served. i am just being realistic... "

a friend wrote on Jun 15, 2007 11:56 AM:

" I knew the couple very well, and despite all the negative comments made about Arnold, I really believe that he loved her. They had a love/hate relationship and it would often turn physical. I don't truly believe that he meant to do it, but when drugs and alcohol are involved along with rage and anger, most of us tend to let our emotions take over and end up doing things that we wouldn't normally do when we are sober. By no means am I justifying what happened, I don't think there is any scenario that would justify murder, unless it was truly self defense, which is not the case here. We may really never know what truly happened, but it is almost certain Arnold will pay the price for what he has done. His family is strong and behind him, but unfortunately their prayers mean very little at this point. Mackenzie should be everyones focus now, as she has lost both her mother and her father. She will grow up only seeing pictures and hearing stories and will never have the luxury of her mother and fathers love again. "

Russell NY wrote on Jun 15, 2007 9:42 AM:

" Is there any specific information or theory as to what actually did happen to this young lady? While this is a very detailed account, I find it strange that no theory as to what actually happened (other than striking her on the head) was communicated to your readers. What proposed scenario of events is the murder charge based on? The DA filed a serious charge, that I'm sure is warranted, as I am equally sure that there is a sequence of events upon which the charge was based. Do we know what they are? "

concerned wrote on Jun 15, 2007 8:26 AM:

" I hope they lock him up for good he needs to be off the streets. I hope and pray that the right thing is done. It is just a shame that he did that to the mother of his child. "

A-Bomb wrote on Jun 15, 2007 8:14 AM:

" So much of this seems like hear-say. I hope they get the the bottom of all of this. "

sir lancelot wrote on Jun 15, 2007 12:45 AM:

" might need to check his legal status. "

mad wrote on Jun 14, 2007 11:45 PM:

" Everyone has forgotten the main thing in this whole situation and that is that a young girls life is lost and a child is now without a mother and maybe a father. I hate to pull the race card in this situation but I have to. People have jumped to so many conclusions in this whole thing automatically,(guilty until proven innocent). He is guilt because HBG's judicial system wants someone to blame for the untimely death of a blonde haired white woman who was in love with a minority. Please do not get me wrong. Ash was a good friend of mine I love her and Arnold and I knew of their strong love for each other and their child. My cousin, like Ash died too soon also. She was a black female who died at a party with all white people of a supposed "asthma attack" and nothing has yet to be done about it. 1st deg. murder? Come on now, only Ash, Arn. and god knows what happened. Whatever it was is the judicial system saying it was planned out, and what would it be if the races were reversed? "

G.G wrote on Jun 14, 2007 10:04 PM:

" It's easy for people to judge other people. When they don't know them. But there is a little girl who lost her mother. Now her father . So it's easy for some people to say throw away the key. But I know in my heart he will be set free. My prayers are with the family Ashely and Arnold. "

R.GG wrote on Jun 14, 2007 9:49 PM:

" What kinda of person would say something like that about a preson they don't know anything about. sounds like your the winer. "

Wow wrote on Jun 14, 2007 9:23 PM:

" Kim, I love you. Hope you can endure. To the author of the article... Go to school and learn to write. Deadline or no deadline, write it better. "

a harrisburg resident wrote on Jun 14, 2007 9:17 PM:

" I am glad the pieces of this bizarre puzzle are starting to come together. Although there is still much more that we don't know, time will eventually tell the real story. And, it looks like its back to Big Muddy for Mr. Fonseca. "

An Outsider wrote on Jun 14, 2007 8:08 PM:

" Now that baby is left without a mommy or a daddy.. what a shame! "

M.S. wrote on Jun 14, 2007 8:05 PM:

" Yeah! What a shame.Arnulfo loved her more than life itself.He would'nt have ever harmed her or put her in harms way.Rest in peace Ashleigh!!! We all love you. "

L wrote on Jun 14, 2007 7:47 PM:

" sorry patty,,they will prolly do this case like the moss trial,,or any other trial in saline co far as that goes,,,they wont throw the key away,,they useually give them(the accused) one. "

Judge Justice wrote on Jun 14, 2007 7:46 PM:

" If he can get the same judge and lawyer as moss he can get off. Scott FREE "

****o wrote on Jun 14, 2007 7:45 PM:

" it ispossible to fall out of the back of a truck and have barely a scratch,,i know,,i myself was stupid when i was younger,was standing up in the back of a pickup and the driver made a sharp turn at about 40mph,,,i was thown into the highway and tumbled,,,i never had any torn clothes and just a couple of scrapes. i was lucky that it was not worse than it not defending anybody,,,i just say its possible to get tossed from a vehicle and not have many visible injurys as the doctor says she should have more if that were the excuse. "

Pattie wrote on Jun 14, 2007 6:52 PM:

" WHAT IN THE WORLD HAS HAPPENED TO SALINE COUNTY?! This is so senseless! I wonder what the poor girl went through on a daily basis with this LOW-LIFE TRASH! From what I hear, she was a beautiful and caring person. How did she get hooked up with the likes of him? And what about her little girl? She has to go the rest of her life knowing that her Dad murdered her Mom. I cry when I think of what he did to her. Life is so much more precious than that. GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ASHLEIGH. "

C wrote on Jun 14, 2007 6:26 PM:

" Do we not still have due process in Saline County? This man has already been tried and convicted. I think a change of venue is in order. "

jess w wrote on Jun 14, 2007 5:37 PM:

" sounds like there are more people involved maybe someone should check out fonsecas "other girlfriends" "

k wrote on Jun 14, 2007 4:16 PM:

" This is a sad situation all around, but it's good to see that the authorities are taking it seriously. Hopefully a jury will be able to see through his lies and give him the long sentence he deserves. "

Patty wrote on Jun 14, 2007 3:26 PM:

" What a shame. This Arnulfo sounds like a real winner. I hope they throw away the key. "

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