DUNNELLON, Fla. — A Dunnellon man now faces felony charges after he allegedly neglected his 79-year-old grandmother to the point of death, then buried her in a shallow grave near her home and apparently tried to flee the country to Mexico, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

  • Arthur Miller, 36, facing felony neglect, gross abuse of human body charges
  • Deputies opened investigation after well-being check on grandmother
  • Miller, girlfriend Vivian Gutierrez, located by authorities at Border Patrol checkpoint

Officials said deputies were first dispatched to the Citrus Springs home of Ecie Gabrielsen, 79, on September 28 to perform a well-being check.  Out-of-town relatives expressed concern about Gabrielsen after hearing conflicting reports about her whereabouts from her grandson, 36-year-old Arthur Miller.

Upon arrival, deputies reportedly found the home's interior to be completely neglected. They found old garbage, animal and human feces and an abundance of cockroaches within the house.

They did not, however, find Gabrielsen.

Questions and searches

Detectives spoke again to Gabrielsen's relatives, who told them Miller had just left family members in Arkansas after advising them that he put Gabrielsen in a nursing home. 

Miller then changed his story, according to the relatives. They said he later told them Gabrielsen had died and that he'd buried her.

Detectives then began trying to locate Miller and his girlfriend, Vivian Gutierrez, 32, while also trying to find Gabrielsen. On September 29, they found a shallow grave in a wooded area about a mile from her home.

Forensics specialists determined that the remains found in the grave matched Gabrielsen's description. The medical examiner has not yet made a final identification.

The next day, Miller and Gutierrez were located in Las Cruces, New Mexico while trying to pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint. They were both taken into custody, and when questioned Miller admitted to neglecting Gabrielsen to the point of death and burying her in a shallow grave in the woods.

Additional charges pending

Both Miller and Gutierrez were arrested and charged with felony neglect. Miller faces an additional felony charge for gross abuse of a human body.

"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."

Miller and Gutierrez will be extradited to Citrus County in the coming days, according to the Sheriff's Office.