Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch

Criteria

Tim Miller
Tim Miller

When asked what criteria he uses to decide whether to devote resources to a case, Miller responds that Amber Alerts come first: missing children may be found alive, rescued, and returned to their rightful families. After that, the priority goes to Alzheimer's patients or people who need medication who have wandered away. They're often found within hours. Then TES will investigate other missing people, but in the case of apparent runaways, they will generally advise parents on the work they must do, and will distribute fliers and place notices on the TES Web site, www.Texasequusearch.org.

What often upsets Miller is that minorities often do not get the attention from law enforcement or the media that they deserve. "When Elizabeth Smart disappeared," he says, "it was a zoo of a media show. Two weeks later, an FBI agent asked for my help in the case of a missing four-year-old black girl. We went over with a team, and at the end of the first day the police chief decided to call off the search. I didn't want to tell him how to run things, but I didn't want to call off the search."

Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart

Miller was disheartened that for several weeks the search had been going on for Elizabeth Smart, with daily media attention, while no one seemed to care for more than a day about the missing black girl. The sheriff allowed him to keep going, and on the fourth day of the search, the girl's body was found. She had been raped and murdered, "and it barely made news in Houston."

Others share his concern, and between volunteers, bloggers, Web site owners, and others with their own resources, perhaps some of the forgotten people will receive more attention.

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