Burned in a deadly house fire as a child, 19-year-old Michael Miller has one hand, no feet and limited mobility.
So when his mother left him home alone Sept. 19, he crawled to her room to retrieve his prosthetics, his uncle told police. That’s when Miller’s 47-year-old landlord, who recently had served the family with an eviction notice, cornered and threatened him in a hallway, the uncle said.
The teen is accused of shooting landlord Raul Salazar several times, then asking his uncle to help him dispose of the body, according to an arrest report released Tuesday. Salazar also had limited mobility and used a walker, according to the report.
Miller was booked into the Clark County Detention Center last month on one count of murder in connection with Salazar’s death. He is being held without bail.
The day after the confrontation, search and rescue crews found Salazar’s body in a remote area near Lake Mead National Recreation area, bound and wrapped in a sleeping bag.
Police first approached Miller’s mother about Salazar’s death, since she and her family lived in his home, according to the report. The mother told police she had left the house early Sept. 19 to give Salazar space, since he had served them an eviction notice.
Miller stayed behind, though, and at some point his uncle Joseph Wade Miller also went to the house. There was a “physical altercation,” the mother said, but she offered no other details. So detectives spoke with her brother next.
In an interview with police, Joseph Miller initially denied any involvement with Salazar’s disappearance, but he later “hung his head” and said he played a role in disposing of the man’s body.
Then he pointed to his nephew, describing the hallway confrontation that the uncle said ended in gunshots.
The afternoon of the confrontation, Michael Miller called his uncle, panicked and asking for help, the uncle told police. When the uncle arrived, Salazar was dead on the living room floor, the uncle said.
According to the report, the uncle told police that he and his nephew considered staging the house to look like a home invasion. But they ultimately disposed of Salazar’s body near Lake Mead, the uncle said.
Joseph Miller faces one count of harboring, concealing or aiding a felony offender. The 48-year-old is being held at the Clark County jail. A separate arrest report also accused the uncle of disposing of ammunition used in the shooting.
Following Michael Miller’s arrest, Las Vegas police released a mug shot of the teen that showed facial disfigurement. At age 3, he suffered burns to 95 percent of his body, according to his arrest report.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal in July 2003 reported on the fire, which had accidentally been sparked by children playing with a cigarette lighter, the Las Vegas Fire Department said at the time. A 4-year-old girl died in the blaze.
In a recent interview with police about Salazar’s death, Michael Miller requested an attorney. He subsequently denied a request from the Review-Journal for a jail interview.
A second uncle, Robert Miller, doubted Michael Miller was capable of killing someone. The 42-year-old said his nephew is a laid-back kid who stays out of others’ way and tries to “live his life the best he can with his predicament.”
Robert Miller also described his nephew as protective of his young sisters, ages 10 and 12, but the man had nothing positive to say about his brother.