Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch

Strategies

Miller brought to the Grinstead case a sense of organization, as well as special technology that had not yet been used in the case. His people organized the volunteers into teams to efficiently search specific areas. He told the various teams that by this time, the chances of finding the missing woman were low, but the search had to be undertaken with care. It was easy to get distracted, but that was to be avoided, because a search required full concentration. He knew well enough how even trained officials had missed bodies only a few feet away.

Underwater video camera
Underwater video camera

Since they were going to look into the many abandoned wells in the county, he had brought underwater cameras that operated on 100-foot long necks to go into places that could otherwise not be searched with flashlights or the naked eye. On hand were representatives from companies that had equipment generally used for other purposes, who believed it could assist in a forensic investigation. A methane gas detector, for example, provided by Health Consultants, Inc., might pick up the odor of decomposition far down a well the way it detected gas from broken lines.

Display from underwater camera
Display from underwater camera

The teams searched all day, some going all weekend, with no indication that they were any closer to finding the missing teacher. It was disheartening for some, who wanted desperately to know what had happened to her. But they all knew the odds were against them. When the search was finally called off, Miller went home to think it through. He was not giving up. He then returned after his second trip to Aruba to reconnoiter.

Methane gas tester
Methane gas tester

"We have some cadaver dogs in the search, including water cadaver dogs," he says, "and we had four dogs alert on a spot in Georgia that we'd gotten a lead on. This house out in the country had caught on fire a few days after Tara had disappeared, and the fire was from arson. There was a small lake on the property and the dogs all alerted on an area at that lake." So he set his team to work to search it.

As of this writing, Tara and Natalee are both still missing. In fact, there are some 60 open cases in which TES has been involved. While Miller believes that many of the missing are dead, he holds out hope for the others.

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