Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch

Four Dead Girls

A year and a half dragged by with no information, and Miller was so depressed he contemplated suicide. Finally, he checked himself into a hospital for six days. That's where he was when he finally received some information: In the newspaper was an article that reported the discovery in a local field of the remains of two females. Some kids riding dirt bikes had smelled a foul odor in the area of Calder Road. The corpse they found had been dead four or five weeks, so it was fairly decomposed. When the police went to investigate, about six feet from that body was a set of skeletal remains. That meant that within two years, three dead girls had been left there. Apparently a serial killer had used the area as a dumping ground.

Laura's mother went down to the police station and said, "One of those girls could be my daughter." They requested some of Laura's clothes for a hair sample and her dental X-rays. After an analysis, one set of remains proved to be Laura's.

"I blamed the cops," Miller remembers. "I didn't think they were doing their jobs. If they would have gone out there the first day I asked them to, Laura would still have been dead, but there might have been evidence."

Miller went into another tailspin. He felt angry and guilty all at once. "I was the father," he recalls about his state of mind, "I was supposed to protect her and take care of her, and I had failed. I failed by not doing the right job, by not searching. I failed by not going to Heidi's family's house to find out where they'd found her. If I would have done that, maybe I would have found Laura tied up; maybe she would have been alive and I could have saved her. Or maybe I would have found her and it wouldn't have been months after the animals got to her. I beat myself up because I didn't do enough while Laura was missing."

At the same time, he felt a sense of relief. "Now at least I knew. I didn't have to worry about the heart palpitations every time the phone rang."

Still, the discovery and identification were only the start. Next came the investigation. "We had to answer questions about who Laura's friends were and who she hung out with." Worse, the police withheld information. "Even at the time she was found, they would not tell us where. The newspapers said it was the same field where Heidi had been found, but they wouldn't show us where it was. So Laura's mother and I went out and we found it on our own. We walked the fields and finally saw the little flags marking the crime scene. I learned then that her body had been scattered over a twenty foot radius. I was speechless at that time, just numb. I just couldn't believe it."

Miller and his wife wanted Laura's remains for a burial, but the coroner asked to keep them a while longer, and Miller agreed. He wanted to learn how Laura had died, but to his chagrin, the police kept the remains for another three years. But that still wasn't the end of it.

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