The man accused of taking the girls, 44-year-old Terry Miles, was pulled over by a member of the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office around 7:30 p.m. mountain time near the town of Trinidad, Colorado, after the department was tipped that Miles was seen in the area.
When the deputy pulled behind the vehicle, Miles began driving erratically, Chief Banks said, leading the deputy to call for backup and initiate a “high risk traffic stop.”
Miles was then taken into custody without incident. Banks said the two girls, 7-year-old Lulu Bandera-Margret and 14-year-old Lili Griffith, were found unharmed. They are being taken to a hospital for a checkup.
In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Chief Banks said the tips they have received took his officers and federal agents to Trinidad, located just north of the New Mexico border. Video from an unnamed local business on Dec. 30 captured Miles, but the video did not show him with the two girls.
The day before Miles was caught on camera, the girls’ mother, Tonya Bates, 44, was found dead inside her home in Round Rock, in what is being investigated as a homicide. Miles is a person of interest in the homicide, police said.
Authorities have not released how she died, but a law enforcement agency in Louisiana told KXAN she was beaten to death, similar to another case Miles was connected to in that state.
Banks wrote in a tweet at 8:58 p.m. Wednesday: “CAUGHT!!! Terry Allen Miles was caught in Colorado without incident. The girls are SAFE!!! Thank God!!!”
During a press conference, a smiling Banks said, “As you walked around in the incident command room, it wasn’t ‘if’ the girls came home, it has always been ‘when’ the girls came home — that just goes to tell you the passion that everybody had in returning these girls safe.”
He said there was still a lot of work to do in the investigation and many questions to be answered.
Miles has yet to be charged. Two Round Rock police detectives are flying out Thursday morning to conduct interviews. Child Protective Services in Colorado and Texas will be working on getting the girls home in the near future and getting them back to their family, the chief said.