Police ID body found in 'torn up, bloody home' in Middletown by friends who went looking for him

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Investigators have identified the body of a man found inside his "torn up and bloody" home by friends who went looking for him.

The body of the white male was found inside a home at 1707 Texas Ave. in Middletown just before 10 a.m. Wednesday by acquaintances who went looking for the man after they hadn't heard from him for several hours.

Once they found the body and saw the state of the home, the friends contacted the Middletown Police Department.

The deceased person was identified Thursday as Donald Miller, 60, the resident of the home.

Specific details on the cause of death were not released but officers called it suspicious and said there were signs of a struggle.

Lt. Scott Reeve said their investigation has led them to believe Miller was involved in what the Middletown officer called "questionable activities."

"We don't believe he was picked at random. We believe something he was doing made him a more likely victim than most," he said.

A neighbor who didn't want to be identified told WCPO partner station WHIO in Dayton that she had called police several times to report what she believed was "illegal activity" going on at the home.

Miller doesn't have a checkered criminal background, although he was arrested for domestic violence in February. Those charges were later dropped. Other than that, he only had a handful of traffic violations on his record.

Neighbor Mike Craft remembers Miller as a “good person” and has a difficult time believing his neighbor was up to no good.

“I didn't see any evidence of that, wasn't a lot of traffic over there like he was selling drugs or anything like that,” he said.

Susan Fuller lives nearby and described the deceased male as someone who kept to himself and took care of several neighborhood cats. While she didn't know him that well, Fuller said he was a nice man and represented residents of the quaint seven-house street well.

Police said the preliminary investigation into what happened to Miller is taking longer than expected. The crime scene investigative unit entered its second day of processing the scene Thursday.

A number of large items were taken from the house and trucked away. It's unclear what those items are and what role, if any, they played in the death.

The Butler County Coroner's Office performed an autopsy Thursday and determined the cause of death was the result of multiple injuries. But officials declined to release specific information on what happened to Miller.

Even though details on what happened are still murky, Fuller described the investigation as "out of place" for the community.

“It is pretty out of place because we are kind of a neighborly neighborhood," she said. “It's not that we all interact but we all watch out for each other.”

Fuller and some other neighbors described Texas Avenue and their part of Middletown as comfortable, quiet and not necessarily reflective of what goes on throughout the rest of the city.

“There isn't an extreme amount of crime around here,” Fuller said. “I mean it's Middletown so there is crime, but not right here on our block.”

Justin Mays, a longtime neighborhood resident, disagreed with Fuller's sentiment. He said he wasn’t surprised to learn someone was found dead in the area and said the community is "changing."

“The older people have died and they've rented out a lot of these houses over here,” he said. “We see a lot of suspicious cars late at night coming in and out (of the area).”

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