Saturday, 20 April 2024

Officials release new details in Cobb kidnap, arrest

COBB – Sheriff's investigators are still trying to determine the motive of a man accused of kidnapping and assaulting his longtime girlfriend this past weekend.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Thomas William Miller, 37, of Cobb late Sunday night after searching for him throughout the weekend following his alleged abduction of girlfriend Sally Martin, 30.

Capt. Jim Bauman said sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call at 9:45 p.m. Friday reporting a physical fight between a man and woman near a Parnassus Drive residence in Cobb.

Bauman said Miller was reported to be assaulting Martin. While deputies were responding to the scene, Miller allegedly threatened others who tried to intervene with a handgun before dragging a barefoot Martin – whose face was bleeding from the assault – into his pickup and leaving the area.

When deputies arrived on the scene, witnesses told them that Martin had tolerated ongoing abuse by Miller and had been on the verge of seeking help from a domestic violence shelter, according to Bauman.

Deputies stayed at the Parnassus Drive residence to process the scene and gather information while another group of deputies who were responding to assist with the investigation found Miller's pickup near his Sugar Pine Drive residence, Bauman reported.

An extensive search of the home and the surrounding area was conducted throughout the night, but Bauman said there was no sign of Miller or Martin.

With an armed Miller still at large, on Saturday the sheriff's office issued a telephonic public safety alert to warn 3,200 Cobb and Middletown area residents, Bauman said. The call urged residents not to approach Miller, who was considered extremely dangerous, but to call 911 immediately if he was spotted.

At the same time, deputies continued to canvass the Cobb community for information and worked leads as to Miller's and Martin's whereabouts throughout the weekend, Bauman said.

Thanks to leads developed through the community, deputies received information that led them to a Whispering Pines area residence on Sunday at about 10:30 p.m., according to Bauman. Miller – along with several other people, including Martin – was believed to be at the home.

As they were conducting surveillance on the home, Bauman said deputies encountered a male adult approaching the house who ran when they attempted to detain him. Following a brief foot chase, the subject was arrested and positively identified as Miller.

With Miller in custody, Bauman said deputies searched the home they were watching and found Martin inside, relatively unharmed, along with several others, including 22-year-old Corey Lee Burnezky of Cobb.

Bauman said Burnezky also was arrested as he had provided false information to deputies and aided Miller’s concealment throughout the weekend.

Miller was booked into the Lake County Jail on felony charges of kidnapping, spousal battery and threats, and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, brandishing a firearm and a misdemeanor out-of-county warrant. Bauman said he remains in custody with a combined bail of $258,000.

Burnezky, who was booked for felony accessory to a crime, has since been released on a $10,000 bond, Bauman reported.

Bauman said the case remains open pending further investigation as to the motive for the kidnapping and assault.

The sheriff's office has had numerous contacts with Miller going back to 1991, said Bauman, but all are traffic-related with the exception of a 2006 arrest for driving on a suspended license.

Cobb residents reported Monday that they received an “all clear” message regarding Miller's capture from the sheriff's office through the telephonic alert system.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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