GOSHEN — Goshen College professor James S. Miller's church and the high school two of his children attend are working to help all those impacted by the slaying of the popular biology instructor.
Police said Miller, 58, was killed and his wife, Linda, was injured Sunday morning in an invasion of his home in the 1700 block of Wildwood Court.
On Monday, Elkhart County Coroner John White said an autopsy revealed the causes of Miller's death were "multiple blunt force and multiple sharp force injuries."
Two of the couple's children are members of the Goshen High School marching band and were out of town at a band competition when the incident took place.
"When you hear it you just think: How can this be?" said Pastor Terry Diener of Clinton Frame Mennonite Church.
The Miller family attended the Clinton Frame church. The shock of Miller's murder and his wife's injuries hit members of the congregation very hard.
"Obviously, when something like this happens to one of our families there is just a deep shock, and a deep sense of grief and sadness and care for them," said Diener.
Jim Miller, Diener said, was a gentle and kind spirit who attended church regularly. His wife has been working with the church's children's ministry.
According to a statement issued by the church Monday, Linda Miller was in stable condition and was recovering in an area hospital.
"The Miller family has become a very integral part of our congregation," said Diener. "Over the past year, Linda has been serving on the pastoral team in an interim position, and so its just an overwhelming sense of grief."
That sense of sadness, disbelief and loss are also being shared by students at Goshen High School. On Monday, the school system implemented its crisis plan to work with students and provide support and counseling.
First thing Monday morning, members the staff met to map that out.
"(We) talked about who we wanted to handle it in the classrooms, knowing that the (Miller) children won't be in school today, that it may be a while, and how to process that with the rest of our class," said Jim Kirkton, GHS principal.
"These kids are a big part of what goes on in band, and so it impacts us all the way around," said Kirkton. "We are trying to deal with it at every corner."