A grieving mother is speaking out for the first time after her husband killed the couple’s young son and then himself in a horrifying act of violence over the weekend in suburban Joliet.
“I met the devil that day,” Cassandra Tanner-Miller said of the incident, which took place Saturday afternoon.
Police were called to a home in the 8300 block of Buckingham Lane on Saturday afternoon after neighbors reported hearing a woman screaming inside. When they arrived, officers found Tanner-Miller and her 9-year-old daughter injured, and they found the bodies of 35-year-old Christopher Michael Miller and 18-month-old Colton Michael Miller inside of another room in the home.
In an emotional interview, Tanner-Miller said that her estranged husband had been abusing drugs and had become emotionally unstable after serving in the National Guard. Attempts to get him help had failed, causing her to move into a Joliet home with her two children.
Tanner-Miller says that her husband showed up at the home on Saturday, and asked her “are you all ready to die today?”
“He started hitting me over and over and over again,” she said. “I didn’t care if he took me, just please don’t take my babies from me.”
The man then ran upstairs and locked himself in a room with the couple’s toddler son, and when police arrived, they found that he had shot the 18-month-old and himself.
Now, Tanner-Miller says that authorities failed in their duty to protect her and her family, and she says it was because they were biased because of her husband’s military service.
“That man is a murderer,” she said. “That coward took his life afterward. He has never been held accountable for his actions because he wore a military uniform. There needs to be a change.”
She says that she will push for a new bill in Illinois called “Colton’s Law,” aimed at trying to close loopholes and shortfalls in the legal system. She believes that if such a law had existed prior to Saturday’s horrifying incident, then her son might still be alive.
For now, she will honor her son’s life with a funeral later this week and somehow try to plan her life forward with her daughter.
“I'll get to hold my baby for one last time,” she says.