CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — The family of a Citrus Springs woman reportedly neglected until death by her grandson spoke out on Wednesday, saying she deserved so much better.
- RELATED: Deputies: Man neglected grandmother until she died, tried to flee U.S.
- Daughter-in-Law cared for Ecie Gabrielsen until 2016
- Daughter-in-Law: "I can't even fathom how this could have happened."
"I wish I had gave it more. I feel guilty," Marsha Miller said.
Marsha is heartbroken over the death of her mother-in-law, Ecie Gabrielsen.
"She loved kids. Her family was everything," Marsha explained.
Marsha's husband was lost at sea nearly 20 years ago. She said Ecie was all her kids had left of their father.
Grandson moved back in 2016
Ecie suffered from dementia, and Marsha cared for her up until 2016. That's when Ecie's grandson, Arthur Miller, moved back in with her.
Marsha said Ecie adopted Arthur when he was just 2 years old.
"When he moved back in, she told me she wanted Arthur to take care of her," Marsha explained.
Marsha still saw Ecie for dinner dates every week. However, she said in August after she expressed concerns over Ecie's health, things changed.
"I couldn't get him commit to letting me come get her," she explained. "It was always an excuse, or he would make a date and he would cancel at the last minute, and I started getting really concerned."
Conflicting stories to relatives
Marsha filed a missing person's report with the sheriff's office on Friday.
Meanwhile, she said Arthur was giving conflicting stories to relatives, initially saying he put Ecie in a nursing home. Marsha said later he said Ecie had died and he buried her.
The Citrus County Sheriff's Office found a body that matched Ecie's description in a shallow grave on Saturday about a mile from her home. They say the medical examiners office will make the final identification.
Arthur and his girlfriend Vivian Gutierrez were taken into custody Sunday while trying to cross the border to Mexico from Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Sheriff's Office said Arthur Miller admitted to neglecting Ecie until she died.
"I just can't even fathom how this could have happened. I can't," Marsha told us. "I mean, he did good taking care of her. I would go over every week to take her out to dinner, put my eyes on her."
"He was having concerns about his girlfriend," she continued. "His girlfriend worked a lot of hours while he stayed home with Ecie. And I think that he was sitting around and just dwelling in his own sorrows and couldn't move past it."
Now she said the rest of the family is supporting one another, remembering the good times they all shared together.
"I have to take one day at a time. I can't see past that," Marsha said.
Both Arthur Miller and Gutierrez are being extradited back to Citrus County. They’ve both been charged with one felony count of neglect.
Miller has also been charged with gross abuse of a human body. The Sheriff’s Office says additional charges are pending.