News Details

New Details Emerge About Army Recruiter Suspected of Killing Teen

By NBC Washington Staff

Source: NBC Washington
Published: Wednesday 10 April, 2013

Montgomery County police are looking in to the possibility that a U.S. Army recruiter believed to have killed a 17-year-old U.S. Army Reserves recruit may have had inappropriate relationships with other teen girls in the county, sources told News4's Pat Collins.

Staff Sgt. Adam Arndt, 31, fatally shot 17-year-old Michelle Lynne Miller then killed himself inside his home in the 12900 block of Pinnacle Drive in Germantown, Md., police said.

Friends told investigators that Michelle had a romantic relationship with Arndt.

Michelle had signed up to enter the Army Reserves after graduation from Rockville High School this year. Kevin Miller, Michelle's father, said that he had not met Arndt, but that his daughter had seemed “a little smitten with this guy,” the Associated Press reported. However, he said he didn't believe there was a romantic relationship between the two.

Miller said he believed Arndt -- a nine-year veteran of the Army who had served in Korea, Germany and Turkey -- was the “man above her recruiter.” He thinks his daughter met Arndt about four or five months ago.

Police said it's possible Arndt victimized other teenage girls.

“Investigators are reaching out to others, both men and women, who may have had contact with him professionally as part of this recruitment process,” said Paul Starks, of Montgomery County police.

Police are checking Arndt's emails and phone records and visiting high schools in the county.

Arndt worked at a military recruiting office in Gaithersburg as a member of the Baltimore recruiting battalion, Spencer reported. His duties included visiting schools, the AP reported. Army recruiters are barred from having personal relationships with recruits.

His 21-year-old wife, who was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., at the time of the shooting, would visit on the weekend, News4's Chris Gordon reported. She signed up at the recruitment office where Arndt worked, but it's unknown if Arndt recruited her, Collins reported.

Michelle wanted to someday become a military psychotherapist and work with wounded warriors, family members said, but it appears that her willingness to help may have taken her life.

Michelle's grandmother hopes the teen will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, saying she planned to join the U.S. Army Reserves after high school and died doing what she hoped to do in the Army.

“I feel that she died a hero's death trying to save someone else, and it cost her her life,” said Dr. Alice Miller. “And her family, because the Army meant so much to her, they want her buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery. I'm hoping you can get a congressman to hear this, because they say she wasn't officially inducted. She was due to be. She wasn't inducted because a soldier killed her."

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., released this statement: "I will be paying close attention to the details that emerge and I will work with local, state and federal officials to determine whether we can learn any lessons that might prevent a similar tragedy in the future."

Kevin Miller said Michelle received a call or text about 9 p.m. Sunday from someone whom she said was suicidal, reported News4's Darcy Spencer.

Michelle left their Rockville home at about 9:15 p.m. to help that person. Miller said he was opposed to her leaving, but his daughter said she would be fine and promised to text him the address when she arrived.

Kevin Miller said he got a “vague” text from her about the location, but she then stopped responding to his texts and calls, the AP reported.

Spencer reported that one of Michelle's friends said she received some texts from Michelle's phone. One text said Michelle loved her friend. The final one said, "Goodbye."

Family members told Spencer they believe the texts were sent by Arndt.

Michelle's friend gave Kevin Miller details about where she might be. He drove to the location and saw Michelle's car. No one answered the door, so he called police, the AP reported.

Officers went to the home about 8:50 a.m. Monday.

After failing to communicate with anyone inside, police broke into the home after 10 a.m. and found the bodies of Arndt and Michelle, police said.

Police found a firearm inside the house and are not looking for other suspects.

“Her whole ambition was to be a psychotherapist in the Army, and she wanted to help wounded warriors and the men with PTSD and the women,” her grandmother said. “That's what I thought she was doing when she answered that phone call. He called and said he was suicidal, and so she went to save him, and instead, he put a bullet in her head."

Neighbors told News4's Jim Rosenfield that Arndt seemed to be a pleasant neighbor.

They also said they'd seen Michelle Miller's car parked on Arndt's street before but didn't recognize her picture.

"It's very startling," said a neighbor. "It's crazy to think this is all going on our street."

The neighbor said she used to see Arndt walking his dog. "He was pleasant. I didn't have a lot of interaction with him...." she said. "I had seen people coming and going pretty regularly. He seemed to be a social guy."

Family members and fellow students held an emotional memorial for Miller on Tuesday night.

Monday afternoon, Rockville High School sent a letter home to parents that read in part:

"For those of you who knew Michelle, we ask that you remember and celebrate her life. She was currently an athlete on our varsity lacrosse team, an honors/AP student, and an active member of the Senior Class. For those of you who did not know Michelle, we ask that you respect our sadness and support us with your understanding."

A classmate said she was shocked to hear the news.

"I was frozen in place. I felt like I couldn't move or breathe. I couldn't believe it," student Emily Kjellman told Spencer.

"Everyone was crying and so all of us started crying," she said.

"She was definitely one of the most popular girls in our school, but in a good way," Kjellman said. "She was probably the most fun-loving person you'll ever meet."

Kevin Miller said Michelle had wanted to go into the Army since elementary school.

“She wanted to serve her country; she wanted to see the world; she wanted to finance her education,” Kevin Miller said at his Rockville home Monday evening, according to the AP.

Michelle lettered in basketball, soccer and lacrosse at Rockville High.

Counselors were at Rockville High Tuesday to speak with students there after a senior was found dead Monday morning.

"Everyone knows her, so it’s kind of like shocking that she's gone from our community, so that whenever we walk in school we won’t be seeing her in our classes," basketball teammate Hellen Kim said.

Michelle's lacrosse coach said she was the sparkplug of the team.

"She cared about everybody,” Caitlin Ulmer said. “She wanted to be a therapist. She wanted to help people, particularly people who suffered through combat, and I think the military was going to provide her with an amazing opportunity to get that experience and really be able to touch lives."