Murder charges filed in woman's death
By Eric Fodor
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
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
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
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
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.