Family, friends and strangers remember slain Indy veteran

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Many on Indy’s southside and beyond are still shaking their heads at the thought that a woman who served our country so selflessly, was killed so senselessly.

Indianapolis police are now strongly considering the possibility that the murders of 34-year-old Erin Mills and 31-year-old Kobi Walden are connected, although they state there is little physical evidence in either case.

Mills was killed early Sunday morning, around the corner from where Walden’s body was found in May.

An unknown man killed the army veteran in front of her apartment and also shot and hurt Mills’ boyfriend.

Police believe the murder was a robbery that turned deadly. Based on the vague description of a suspect in a mask, detectives believe the suspect may have been responsible for an armed robbery just an hour after he killed Mills.

“You know,” started Debi Green, Erin Mills’ mother with a sigh, “you just never expect this. The pain that you go through. Just the wave of emotions. You know the anger and the hurt and the numbness and the shock.”

Thursday night, Green, family and friends prayed the killer would be found as they lit candles, prayed, sang amazing grace and mourned a life stolen from them.

“Who loses their baby at 34?” asked Debi with tears welling in her eyes. “She should be here doing this for me!”

From the crowd gathered at the vigil and tears streaming down faces, it’s clear Mills will be missed.

“I knew my daughter was pretty amazing,” said Debi Green. “I thought maybe I might be a little prejudiced. But to see this? She touched an awful lot of lives.”

At the end of 34-year-old Erin Mills’ service, Mills was an honor guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Before she died, she had started a job teaching Advanced English at Manuel High School and volunteered at the VA.

Green and others teared up as children, some who live in the apartments near Erin, dropped dollars from their allowances into a bucket for Mills’ funeral expenses. One teenager pulled a twenty from his wallet.

In response to the surprised look on Mills’ friends’ faces, he stated matter-of-factly, “We’re all family, you know?” before turning around to walk home.

That act of kindness is proof for many of Mills’ loved ones who believe they’ll feel her spirit still as long as they live.

“She is still touching lives and is going to be for a long time,” said Green, thinking about her message to Mills’ killer. “So you may have tried to achieve something, but you didn’t. And we’re going to win. And she’s already won.”