Sandra Miles was found murdered in her own house after people at her work grew suspicious of her not showing up for a couple of days and informed law enforcement. Known for her dedication and beloved in the community, Sandra’s brutal assault came as a shocking and devastating event. The tight-knit community was left puzzled, as Sandra was not the type to have enemies or provoke anyone to inflict harm upon her. Delving into the details of the case, ‘American Monster: My Body’ explores the events surrounding her death and unveils the steps taken to apprehend her daughter, Tracie Miles, and her boyfriend, Paul Nelson, as the perpetrators of the crime.
Who is Tracie Miles?
Tracie Miles grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas, raised by her single mother alongside her older brother Chad. Their mother, Sandra Miles, dedicated much of her time to work, striving to provide the best for her children. Despite the usual strains that can occur in any mother-daughter relationship, there were no major issues. However, in the early months of 1997, when Tracie was just 16, she began dating a boy named Paul Nelson. Sandra disapproved of the relationship, leading to frequent clashes between mother and daughter. In an attempt to mend their strained relationship, Sandra purchased a black Ford Mustang for Tracie.
Around the same period in 1997, it was reported that Tracie Miles became pregnant with Paul’s child. However, Sandra insisted that Tracie undergo an abortion and threatened to make her move out if she chose otherwise. This strained the relationship further, but it paradoxically brought Tracie and Paul closer together. Approximately a year later, on March 25, 1998, Tracie, now 17, confided in her best friend, Candace Kienow, about a severe altercation with her mother. Sandra had taken away the keys to Tracie’s car due to numerous accumulated tickets. It was during this time that Tracie and 18-year-old Paul allegedly hatched a plan to eliminate Sandra.
On March 26, Tracie and Paul devised a plan where Tracie would attend school while Paul hid in Sandra’s bedroom armed with a wooden bear statue to assault her. Paul claimed to have second thoughts, but before he could change his mind, Sandra discovered him in the room. Confronted about his presence, Paul, enraged by Sandra’s reaction, repeatedly struck her on the head with the bear statue. In a panicked state, Paul called Tracie, who returned to find her mother still alive. Tracie proceeded to strangle her 48-year-old mother using a cord from the radio until she succumbed. Afterward, Tracie covered Sandra’s head with a blanket and fled with the car and a VCR. She also cashed a $2000 personal cheque from Sandra’s account.
Paul informed his friend of his plan to escape to Mexico with Tracie to avoid her mother. Additionally, he claimed to have acquired a VCR, which he sold to a pawn shop for $2000. However, police inquiries revealed that the pawn shop transaction was for $50. Tracie’s friend also informed law enforcement that when she arrived to pick up Tracie for school on March 26, Paul did not accompany them, leading her to suspect that both intended to flee to Mexico.
By March 30, 1998, Tracie’s absence from work raised concerns, prompting her sister to contact law enforcement. Sandra’s decomposing body was discovered, and the police attempted to locate Tracie and Paul but were unsuccessful. Both became prime suspects after inquiries from their friends. They were added to Kansas’ Most Wanted list and featured on the TV show ‘America’s Most Wanted.’ Custom investigators reported sightings of the pair returning from Mexico, specifically in El Paso, Texas. On April 8, 1998, Tracie contacted a friend who promptly informed the police, leading to their arrest in El Paso on the same night.
Where is Tracie Miles Now?
During questioning, Paul promptly confessed to the murder, and after some initial reluctance, Tracie also admitted to the crime. Police officers described her response as, “OK, I did it,” with a hint of a giggle in her voice. On February 26, 1999, both Tracie and Paul pleaded no contest to intentional first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and forgery, receiving a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. In 2013, Tracie sought to withdraw her plea, asserting that her lawyer had provided inadequate advice and misinformation about the potential sentence. She cited a low IQ from a psychological evaluation, claiming coercion by Paul at the age of 17.
The Kansas Supreme Court rejected Tracie’s plea, determining that her assertions of not being fully informed about the plea deal or lacking sufficient assistance from her lawyer were countered by the explicit nature of the judge’s inquiries before entering the agreement. Tracie is presently incarcerated at the Topeka CF-Central with a custody level of MI2. At 43 years old, she has accumulated numerous disciplinary reports, with the latest one in July 2023 related to a dangerous contraband incident. While she has been eligible for parole since 2023, there is no publicly available information regarding any scheduled parole hearings.