Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Profile of Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch

Police Misconduct

The Millers were finally allowed to bury Laura, but when they received the autopsy report, they were concerned enough about what it said to exhume the remains. They discovered that they had received only 28 bones, and then realized that some of Laura's remains had been sent to a medical facility for research. Although the officials said the remains had been sent in error, it was clear that they had profited, so Miller hired an attorney and sued them for $16 million. He won, but they appealed. Miller just wanted all of Laura's remains for burial, so he agreed to drop the suit if they returned the bones. "Finally we got to bury her and really say goodbye." But it had been an emotionally draining ordeal, and yet one more episode of police misconduct in the case.

Tim Miller at Laura's grave
Tim Miller at Laura's grave

Miller also learned that Laura and Heidi had both disappeared from the same convenience store pay phone, which meant that, had the police paid attention to him when he'd first filed the missing person's report, Laura might have been found alive. This realization made the ordeal much more painful. The police response clearly had been unconscionable.

Then there was more turmoil. As often happens when a child dies, Miller and his wife separated and divorced. He entered Alcoholics Anonymous and received counseling. "It was very painful but each day got better, unless there was new information or there were new leads." Then he'd remember and feel the pain all over again.

By 1991, he had stabilized, but then another set of female remains was found in the same area off Calder Road. The police developed a suspect, who worked for NASA, but in the end, the case went nowhere. Miller did not get the resolution for which he hoped. But his ordeal did evolve into an unforeseen benefit to himself and many others.

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