CITRUS SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) - A man and his girlfriend are facing charges after deputies say his grandmother's body was found buried in a shallow grave near her Citrus Springs home.
Citrus County deputies were called to the home on North Academy Drive Friday for a well-being check. Out-of-town relatives called the sheriff's office worried about 79-year-old Ecie Gabrielsen because her grandson, 36-year-old Arthur Miller, told them conflicting stories about where she was.
Gabrielsen's family told detectives that Miller and his girlfriend, 32-year-old Vivian Gutierrez, recently visited family members in Arkansas. During the visit, family members say Miller told them he put Gabrielsen in a nursing home. He apparently changed his story later and said Gabrielsen died and he had buried her.
Deputies who responded to the Citrus Springs home found it full of old garbage, animal feces, human feces and cockroaches. When deputies could not find Gabrielsen inside, major crimes detectives responded to the home to help investigate.
Detectives searched around the house and surrounding areas. On Saturday, they found what looked like a shallow grave in a wooded area about a mile away. Authorities found remains that fit Gabrielsen's description. A medical examiner will have to make the official identification.
On Sunday, Miller and Gutierrez were taken into custody in Las Cruces, New Mexico as they tried to pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Miller admitted to authorities that he neglected his grandmother to the point of death and buried her in a shallow grave in the woods.
Miller and Gutierrez were both charged with neglect. Miller is also charged with gross abuse of a human body. Additional charges are pending.
Camie Raniolo, 86, lives next door. She claims she knew the grandson had done something to the victim.
"Yeah, I knew. I knew she had died and he wrapped her up and dumped her, or whatever he did, I have no idea," Raniolo said.
"Then the wind up was... this year about six months ago, I never saw her light any more!"
"Our hearts go out to Mrs. Gabrielsen's loved ones," said Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast. "This is a sad case to report upon considering the facts, and Mrs. Gabrielsen deserved better."