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Thread: Facebook page generates lead on cold case, chief says

  1. #1

    news Facebook page generates lead on cold case, chief says

    SUNBURY -- The Sunbury police chief says he is shocked at all the information he is getting since he created a Facebook page Wednesday in the name of a cold case homicide.

    "It's good stuff," Chief Timothy S. Miller said Friday. "I think the case is 100 percent solvable."

    Some of the information provided since the Barbara Miller - Cold Case Facebook page was created has come from people who had not come forward before, he said.

    He already has conducted an extensive interview with one of those, he said. Those who have responded to the Facebook page appear to have good information about the 1989 disappearance of Miller, he said.

    he lack of a body has hindered the investigation but Miller hinted he has gotten information that might change that.

    Since Sunbury has a small police force, he said he might reach out to the state police cold case unit and the FBI for assistance or obtain permission to use a statewide grand jury.

    The chief said he got the idea to use social media from an article he read on how to make a cold case hot again.

    That article stated social media was a good way to reach out to people and to get them talking, he said. The Facebook page has gotten more than 200 "likes" so far.

    Miller, who was no relation to the chief, was 30 when she was reported missing after she failed to attend a July 2, 1989 wedding reception.

    Items she had taken home from the previous day's wedding were found in her Sunbury apartment.

    Miller has been declared legally dead and her case has been classified as a homicide.

    Chief Miller is the latest investigator to attempt to solve the case in which there are more than 6,000 pages of transcribed interviews.

    A task force formed in 2002 worked solidly on the case for two years.

    One of the leads it followed was an extensive a search for Miller's body in the abandoned zinc and lead Doughty Mines, a little more than a mile south of Sunbury near the Susquehanna River.

    Theories expressed over the years about her death included it was related to drugs or a motorcycle gang.

    There has been a person of interest but police say they do not have sufficient evidence to file charges and obtain a conviction.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Facebook page generates lead on cold case, chief says

    Investigators in Cold-Case Murder Finish Digging in Milton

    MILTON — Investigators working on a 28-year-old cold case in Northumberland County finished digging Tuesday afternoon in Milton.

    Crews spent close to a week digging and gathering evidence. They were looking for the remains of former Sunbury resident Barbara Miller.

    Investigators won’t say what they found but they are sending evidence to a crime lab.

    Investigators looked over this property on North Front Street in Milton one more time before they left the house for good. After close to a week of gathering evidence in the cold case homicide of Barbara Miller, they wrapped up this part of the investigation.

    Miller disappeared in July of 1989 and her body was never found.

    Last month, Sunbury police got a tip that Miller’s body was inside the walls of this house in Milton.

    “You know how they say a new set of eyes made a difference, and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed and hopefully they find it so we can get an answer to it,” said Sunbury Mayor Dave Persing.

    Mayor Persing is happy the case was reopened. He and Sunbury council members toured the site of the investigation to see what is going on. Persing says Sunbury is responsible for paying for the work and cleanup.

    “We’re not doing anything that we don’t have to do to run up that cost. We’re hoping it stays to a minimum. Between insurance, we’ll be alright with it.”

    Persing does not know what the investigation will cost but says a lot of people volunteered their time and did work for free.

    “A lot of local people and a lot of people from the area who have come in and joined up with us and they’re as interested in anyone else is in getting a solution to this,” the mayor said.

    But while Sunbury police officers are in Milton, some residents are concerned about who is on patrol in Sunbury.

    “It’s not like we have shifts that nobody’s covering it,” said Persing. “We have a list of part-timers now that we use, so we’re covered in the city of Sunbury.”

    Everyone who spoke with Newswatch 16 tells us they are not upset that Sunbury taxpayers are footing the bill.

    “I think any cold case deserves to be solved if they can. There’s people out there who care about her that would like answers so they have to follow up on whatever leads they can,” said John Simeone of Sunbury.

    According to Sunbury Police Chief Tim Miller, a cleanup crew will be in Milton Wednesday to reconstruct what was taken apart during the investigation.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Facebook page generates lead on cold case, chief says

    Crews Find Evidence Underwater in Barbara Miller Cold Case

    WEST CHILLISQUAQUE TOWNSHIP -- Crews searching a pond near Sunbury found new evidence in connection with a nearly 30-year-old cold case in Northumberland County. Authorities said the county coroner has been called to the scene.

    Sunbury police tell Newswatch 16 they found evidence in the pond in West Chillisquaque Township, near Montandon in Northumberland County.

    Sunbury police said they found what they were looking for. They found a container buried in the pond but would not say what is in that container.

    The yellow container holds evidence in the 1989 Barbara Miller cold case homicide, according to Sunbury police.

    Investigators spent around eight hours searching this pond along Route 45 near Montandon.

    Miller went missing in 1989. Her case was recently reopened.

    Police tell Newswatch 16 after months of interviews, the next phase of their investigation led them here. They found the particular piece of evidence they were looking for and carried it away inside a yellow container. Police would not say exactly what that evidence is only that it was a container buried in the pond.

    Miller disappeared in July of 1989 and her body was never found.

    According to the search warrant, the prime suspect in Miller's disappearance is Joseph Egan, who goes by the nickname "Mike." He is a former Sunbury police detective and Miller's ex-boyfriend.

    In early June, the cold case was reopened when police spent close to one week searching a house in Milton. Evidence was taken from that house and is being looked over by forensic experts.

    On Wednesday night, Sunbury police and a state police forensic unit were at the last home where Barbara Miller lived in Sunbury. Authorities also took pieces of evidence from the house.

    Over the past few months, police have done many interviews and say their investigation led them here.

    Several people who live along Route 45 came outside to watch.

    "Growing up when I was younger, we used to fish in this pond a long time ago so that really hits home that they're searching here and there might be something," said Greg Murphy.

    Bill Bastian thought this was part of a different missing person investigation in this area.

    "A few years ago there was a guy missing, Gricar the D.A., I thought they were looking for him."

    Sunbury police confirmed that this search was connected to the Barbara Miller case.

    They are looking over that evidence they found in the pond and are expected to come out with a statement shortly.

    An earlier version of this report indicated that crews were searching the Susquehanna River. That was incorrect.


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