JACKSON TWP — A husband and his estranged wife — the parents of three teenage children — were killed Wednesday evening in an apparent murder-suicide at their former marital home, police said.
Investigators believe Jeffrey Alan Miller Sr., 52, shot Dana W. Miller, 47, at the house in the 300 block of Evans Road before he turned the same handgun on himself.
The couple had been separated for about a year, authorities said, and were reportedly heading for divorce.
Township police in the months after the separation had been called to the home numerous times to help resolve arguments and domestic differences.
“It was a tumultuous relationship,” said Sgt. Patrick Sarnese of the state police, who are leading the investigation.
But what happened Wednesday surprised police and neighbors alike.
Investigators said Jeffrey Miller about 5:40 p.m. called 911.
“He says there's been a shooting, and gives the address,” Sarnese said. “He then hangs up.”
The ominous message and hang-up immediately sent township police to the home. But before officers got there, a family member, who police did not identify, arrived at the home, found the bodies and called 911.
Both bodies were in the living room, police said.
Dana Miller had “multiple gunshot wounds,” Sarnese said. Jeffrey Miller had a single gunshot wound to his head.
Police said they recovered a 9 mm pistol that they suspect was used in the killings. Dana Miller is the gun's registered owner, Sarnese said,
Official causes of death are pending autopsies, likely today. Butler County Coroner William Young III did not return a telephone call.
Jeffrey Miller lived at the house with his oldest son. Dana Miller lived in Cranberry Township, in an apartment with the couple's two other children, a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.
The house on Evans Road has been up for sale since June 11, according to online release estate listings.
Neighbors believed Dana Miller moved out of the house about a year ago.
The family assimilated well into the quiet neighborhood
“They were such quiet people,” said neighbor Irene Weir, “You'd seldom see them outside. (Jeffrey) was very, very quiet.”
Residents said they would wave hello to the Millers but they did not seem to know much about them. Some said Jeffrey worked at home. They did not know what he did for a living.
The same went for Dana, who when she lived at the house would be seen driving away in the morning.
“Their kids were good kids. Nice,” Weir said of the Millers' children, “They all went to Catholic schools.”
The children are staying with relatives.
While neighbors seemed unaware of the problems between the couple, local police knew otherwise.
Jackson Township Police Chief Terry Seilhamer acknowledged that he and his officers had a history with the couple.
“We've been called there numerous times for different instances,” he said. “Some were civil in nature, like with differences over items.”