ROCKVILLE, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — The Rockville High School community gathered at the school Tuesday evening to celebrate the life of Michelle Miller, the senior who was killed in a murder-suicide with the teen’s U.S. Army recruiter.
Hundreds of people met on the school’s football field to release balloons into the air to memorialize the 17-year-old who was remembered for her bright smile and upbeat attitude.
Police say Miller, who was signed up to go into the U.S. Army Reserves after graduating this spring, was found dead Monday morning in the apartment of Staff Sgt. Adam Arndt.
Detectives believe Arndt, 31, shot Miller before taking his own life.
Michelle Miller’s father, Kevin Miller, says his daughter was a “little smitten” with Arndt, a nine-year Army veteran who had served overseas in Korea, Germany and Turkey.
Arndt had been assigned to coordinate Miller’s entry into the Reserves after graduation. A native of Manitowoc, Wisc, he was deployed to Turkey from September 2009 to September 2010. Since January 2011, he had been detailed to a recruiting office in Columbia. His duties included visiting schools. Army recruiters are barred from having personal relationships with recruits.
Kevin Miller says his daughter told him she was going to help somebody in her platoon that was suicidal around 9:15 p.m. Sunday. Miller said he was against the idea, but his daughter was adamant she would be fine and promised to text him the address when she arrived.
The father says he received a vague text message from her about the address, but she did not respond to subsequent attempts to contact her.
Miller called police around midnight. In the morning, he said, one of his daughter’s friends gave him details about where she might be.
He drove to the location and saw Michelle’s car and again called police shortly before 9 a.m. after no one answered the door.
Officers discovered the bodies after forcing entry into the home.
“She had her life taken away from her on one fell swoop,” he said.
Miller’s lacrosse teammates honored her Tuesday by wearing pink T-shirts reading “#1 on the FIELD. #1 in our HEARTS.”
“I have a feeling our building is going to be one great big memorial to Michelle Miller,” said the school’s principle Dr. Debra Munk.
Grief counselors were at Rockville High School on Tuesday as students coped with the loss of their classmate.
The teen had ambitions to become a therapist, helping military personnel struggling after returning from combat, according to her lacrosse coach Caitlin Ulmer.
The scheduled lacrosse game against Magruder High School that was postponed Monday due to Miller’s death has been rescheduled for April 15.
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