Lake County man suspected in shooting death of adult daughter

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A Lake County man was jailed Wednesday on charges of shooting to death his 20-year-old daughter in the Hidden Valley Lake subdivision, Lake County sheriff’s officials said.

Steven Miller, 39, a former Sonoma County resident who worked as a landscaper, fatally shot his daughter, Hannah Welch, shortly after 8  p.m. Tuesday at the family’s home on Spyglass Drive, which runs alongside the gated community’s golf course, officials said.

Miller’s mother reported the shooting, triggering a neighborhood alert while deputies searched the area, officials said. Miller was found nearby and taken into custody.

After questioning by investigators, Miller was taken to a hospital as part of standard medical review when there are concerns about a suspect’s physical or mental health, said Sheriff Brian Martin. He declined to divulge what Miller told detectives or whether the suspect’s mother — who lived in the home with her son and granddaughter — witnessed the shooting.

“At this point, it’s not a whodunnit,” Martin said.

Miller was booked Wednesday on suspicion of murder. A motive for the shooting has not been determined. Martin said he does not yet know whether the father and daughter had prior confrontations.

A woman answering the phone at the Miller residence on Wednesday said no one was willing to be interviewed.

A Facebook page that apparently belonged to Welch was sparse on publicly shared information about the young woman. It did not say where she grew up or went to high school and Middletown High School officials could not be reached to determine if she was an alumna. The Facebook page did state that she took a home health aide course from the American Red Cross in Minneapolis in 2015. Local law enforcement and county officials said they were not familiar with the family.

Steven Miller’s Facebook page contained no information or photos of his daughter. It does include photos of his dogs, truck and of him on apparent fishing trips.

The home where the shooting occurred is located in a quiet, well-kept neighborhood, sections of which were charred by the Valley fire in 2015. Many inhabitants commute to Sonoma County for work.

“It’s a really nice community,” said Frances Parker, a retired Cloverdale businesswoman who has lived on Spyglass Drive for more than 20 years. Parker said she does not know the Miller family, which lives several blocks away. She said the outbreak of violence was shocking.

The last death charged as a murder in Hidden Valley Lake was in 2008. In that case, a 31-year-old man with a history of mental illness, James Pagan, stabbed to death a 10-year-old neighbor, Tessa Walker, and wounded her 13-year-old sister.

The Sheriff’s Office asked that anyone with information that could help with the investigation to call Detective Richard Kreutzer at 707-262-4233.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 707-462-6473 or On Twitter @MendoReporter.

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