Terry Miles found guilty of kidnapping two Round Rock sisters

    Terry Miles was found guilty Tuesday of kidnapping two Round Rock girls after their mother's death. (Photo courtesy: Round Rock Police Department)

    Terry Miles was found guilty Tuesday of kidnapping two Round Rock girls after their mother's death.

    Miles kidnapped the sisters in December 2017, leading to a nationwide manhunt. The girls, who were 14 and seven at the time, were found in Colorado after a four-day search.

    Prosecutors said Miles, who lived with the family, had sexual contact with the oldest girl and that he was homeschooling her. They also say the younger sister didn't know her mother was dead until they were rescued.

    "Abuse is a process. It's a process of grooming. It's a process of seduction," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Creasey. "This is, often times, the best way for the abuser to be able to lock in a child victim and be able to make sure that that abuse continues for a long time and isolate them from their friends. They isolate them from their families."

    No one has been charged with the murder of the girls' mother, Tonya Bates, but Miles' attorneys argued that he was protecting them after finding her body.

    The defense also maintained that Bates lived a high-risk life and that Miles was worried for the girls' safety.

    While that case remains unsolved, Chief Allen Banks with the Round Rock Police Department said this trial concludes one step in bringing justice in Bates' death.

    "You've got to remember Tonya Bates was a victim as well, and we've got to have that closure for her family as well," Banks said. "Hearing the testimony in this case actually starts putting a lot of the puzzle pieces together, and it's very important."

    The oldest of the two girls kidnapped testified during the trial saying they were afraid for their lives when Miles kidnapped them after their mother's death. Prosecutors called this a step toward healing.

    "The testimony itself is the beginning stage of being able to empower these children, that they get to have their story and a version of their facts presented to the public," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Fernald. "I can't imagine anything more powerful."

    Miles faces up to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 25th.

    Banks said RRPD will be working with the Williamson County District Attorney's Office to determine if Miles will face charges in Bates' murder.

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