FAIRPLAY, Colo. (CBS4) – A former Wheat Ridge woman accused of murdering her roommate appeared before a judge for the first time on Tuesday, months after the roommate went missing.
Police in Wheat Ridge announced the arrest of Melissa Miller on Monday. Her roommate Leann “Annie” Meyer disappeared in February and her remains were found on private property near Bailey in Park County on July 4.
Meyer was arrested at Wheat Ridge police headquarters and was driven to the Park County Jail in Fairplay, because that’s where it’s believed the murder took place. On Tuesday she was escorted into a Park County courtroom with a black-and-white striped prison jumpsuit on and cuffs on her hands and feet.
She uttered only one word — “No” — after being asked by the judge if she wanted to make a comment.
The district attorney called a witness from the Wheat Ridge Police Department who said he has been investigating the case for months. The detective said to his knowledge Miller doesn’t have a job and has been living on her parents’ couch in Lakewood since the disappearance of Meyer.
He also said that Miller attempted suicide about a month after Meyer’s disappearance, but that she’s not suicidal anymore.
The judge then issued Miller a cash-only bond of $50,000.
Wheat Ridge police said they believe Miller, who knew Meyer for 20 years, is their only suspect in the case.
Sarah Hultgren, a friend of Meyer, told CBS4 outside the courthouse that she just wants to see the justice process played out.
“I think it finally makes it real. It’s definitely been a long road, and this last week has been a whirlwind. I’m relieved. I’m relieved for her family,” Hultgren said.
Miler refused to talk to police after Meyer went missing and hired an attorney. In a secretly recorded video made in April of a confrontation between Miller and friends who were searching desperately for Meyer, Miller is seen saying “And I did nothing. I loved Annie more than any of you.”
Despite the department’s statements about Miller demonstrating her Fifth Amendment rights by staying silent, Miller claimed in the video she was actually cooperating with police.
“The next day I tried to kill myself, I don’t want to live without Annie. And I was in the hospital and the police were there that night,” Miller said “The next day in the paper it says I’m dodging the police. I’m like, ‘I have their cards, they were here last night talking with me.’ ”
Tammy Hazelhorst told CBS4 on Monday that friends knew Miller was guilty after that confrontation and had to live for months knowing Meyer’s killer was still free.
“Everybody laughed walking away from that and saw the guilt and felt the guilt,” Hazelhorst said. “It didn’t give anybody a piece of reassurance that she wasn’t guilty and didn’t have anything to do with it.”
A week after the July 4 discovery of Meyer’s remains officials returned to the scene near Bailey for a short time, but so far they aren’t saying what it is they were looking for at that time.
Miller faces as much as 48 years in prison. She is scheduled to be back in court next Monday.