ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – The search continues for two girls who were abducted in Round Rock on Sunday. Their mother, Tonya Bates, 44, was found dead inside a home in what’s being investigated by police as a suspicious incident.
Police have issued an Amber Alert for 14-year-old Lili Griffith and 7-year-old Lulu Bandera-Margret. Detectives believe they could be with 44-year-old Terry Miles somewhere in New Mexico or southern Colorado. Miles was living with Bates.
A family friend of Bates, Lea Ann Dornhoefer, met KXAN where Bates used to live, where she would babysit the two girls because they were friends with her daughter. She believes they are in danger and has a message for Miles.
“Those kids are innocent. So whatever happened, drop the kids off somewhere. Drop them off at a gas station. Drop them off unharmed. Allow them to call somebody. You can drop them off and keep going but drop them babies off,” said Dornhoefer, “You know that’s the hardest part, they lost their mama. You know what I’m saying. I’m sure they’re upset.”
Dornhoefer’s daughter went to the same school, Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School in Round Rock, as Lulu Bandera-Margret.
“It’s emotional for me, and her and Lulu were friends for so long – and you know it feels like part of the family for me too,” said Dornhoefer.
Dornhoefer said Miles first met the older daughter Lili in Louisiana when she was living with her father. Dornhoefer was uncomfortable with the fact that Miles lived with Bates in this home with the children as well.
Bates worked as a patient technician at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center. The hospital says the staff is keeping Bates’ daughters in its thoughts and prayers.
In Louisiana, Miles had a history of domestic violence. The Sulphur Police Department and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office had arrested Miles before.
Miles and the two children are believed to be in a gray 2017 Hyundai Accent with Texas license plate JGH 9845.