DARDANELLE, Ark.–The bodies of 61-year-old Rita Miller and 17-year-old Ciera Miller were found when deputies responded to a disturbance call.
Authorities said 42-year-old James Bowden killed Rita and Ciera along with Yell County Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart on Thursday.
It happened on Gum Springs Road in Chickalah where Bowden held 31-year-old Haley Mcham hostage after the deadly shootings.
Ciera Miller went to school at Dardanelle High School.
We talked with Chris Miller. He is Ciera’s uncle and Rita’s son.
Chris Miller showed us a picture of his mom and his niece.
Miller described his mom as someone who would do anything to help others, “(she would give) money, food, anything. She went to the church right across the road.”
He said his niece loved animals, “Ciera just love to ride horses and I would watch her ride all day long. She just loved riding horses. That was her thing.”
He said his mom and niece had a special bond.
“You couldn’t separate them,” he said.
He said he got a call from his sister after he learned that his mom and niece had been shot and killed Thursday morning.
He said he talked to his sister on the phone while she was being held hostage.
“I was telling her to calm down and use her mind and think for a split second if she could get away to do it,” he said
After five hours she did get out of the house.
“People need to realize life is short every day. Wake up it could be a last,” he said.
Chris Miller said he will grieve the loss of two family members onto special days this weekend. This weekend will be Mother’s Day and his birthday.
The principal at Dardanelle High School said they had grief counselors available to students Friday.
She said they are engraving Ciera’s name on a plaque to hang in the hall.