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Colton Michael Miller, 18 months old, September 21, 2019, Joliet, Will County, Illinois

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Colton Michael Miller – 18 months old

September 21, 2019

Joliet, Illinois

Cassandra Tanner-Miller was at home with her son and nine year-old daughter on the 8300 block of Buckingham Lane in York Township, Illinois when the children’s father was seen at the back door on Saturday, September 21, 2019. The estranged husband reportedly asked her “are you all ready to die today?” The assault began with Cassandra, beating her for over thirty minutes and strangling her till she lost consciousness, her daughter, and shot their son nine times before shooting himself. According to reports of her accounts that day, she remembers hearing Christopher laugh.

Reported accounts show that her daughter tried to fight him when he went to the stores, putting her in a chokehold and bit her before moving up the stairs toward Colton. Christopher then shot Colton twice, went down the stairs looking again for Cassandra and her daughter, who had escaped outside. He went back upstairs and shot Colton seven more times. The Chicago Tribune reported that “Miller fired that illicit gun so many times, at least 10, the coroner could not definitively track the bullets that shattered the toddler’s skull.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that Tanner Miller and her daughter, Camryn, made it as far as the next door neighbor’s garage when they heard gunshots coming from the second story of her home.

Eighteen month old Colton Michael Miller had died, along with his father, the one who shot him to death. Cassandra and her daughter were taken to AMITA Health St Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

The killer, Christopher Miller was fighting a drug addiction and had mental health issues. He was part of the National Guard, served several years in the Army and a former corrections officer. CBS Chicago reported he had a FOID card which was reportedly revoked January 2018 for an aggravated battery charge in DuPage County, but he never surrendered his weapons.

CBS Chicago reported that Cassandra attempted to notify the National Guard with his behavior which was ignored. “That he was hearing things, that he wasn’t being responsive the way that he should, and I was just pretty much told to mind my own business and they kind of just stopped answering my phone calls,” she said.

A GoFundMe account raised over $37,000.

KMOX Radio reported the following:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) -- Illinois lawmakers are pushing for changes in domestic violence laws following the shooting death of an 18 month old boy in Joliet. State Rep. David Welter says the proposed domestic violence task force would look at current domestic violence laws and see where changes need to be made. "[The task force would] establish a framework for specialized protective networks for victims because folks, we need it. In all areas of this state we need it," Welter told fellow lawmakers. "Treatment options for victims and offenders, and review the need for special considerations of bail in cases involving domestic violence."

CBS also reported:

Illinois State Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) said the courts also failed her.

“She’s opened up my eyes, I think, to a different way of thinking about domestic violence,” Welter said.

Welter said he is currently working on legislation to enhance the option to put violent offenders like Miller on a GPS alert system. He’s calling it Colton’s Law.


Colton Miller, age 1, suddenly, of Joliet. Loving son of Cassandra Tanner Miller of Joliet; dearest brother of Camryn "Zaza"; loving grandson of John and Elizabeth Tanner of Lombard; many other relatives. Colton loved monster trucks, football, dinosaurs, dragons and cars. He loved cleaning and gardening with his mother. Funeral Services Friday 9 AM from Brust Funeral Home, 135 S. Main St., Lombard to Sacred Heart Church for 9:30 AM Mass. Visitation Thursday 3-9 PM. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, memorials for his sister's education can be made in care of his mother. Info or call 888-629-0094.

I tell these stories, as horrific as they are, so that the reader can get an insight of these cases which are so close to home; closer than one thinks. My hopes is to remember, to learn, to understand what happened, and how things may have been missed, or what we could learn from them. These stories are not easy to write and not easy to read, but they are true to the best of my knowledge. One can only hope to keep these stolen hearts in memory and strength to learn from them. As you can see I do not post pictures of the killer(s). They are not worth remembering.

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