Tim Miller is angry. The founder of Texas EquuSearch search and recovery has filed suit against Galveston County over handling of his daughter’s remains — for the second time.
Laura Miller, 16, was the youngest of four females found dead in what law enforcement dubbed “the Killing Fields” — a rural field in League City off a dirt road between Houston and Galveston — in the 1980s and 1990s.
Unsolved murders are never easy on those left behind, but twice now, Tim Miller has received a call from Galveston County saying his daughter’s remains had not been fully returned to her family, Click2Houston reported.
Laura Miller disappeared on September 10, 1984, just after her family had moved to League City. Her mother took her to a payphone to call her boyfriend — the family’s phone had not yet been installed — and she never returned. Her body was found in February 1986 in “the Killing Fields.”
Hers was the second body found in that location. Heidi Fye, a 24-year-old League City bartender, disappeared in 1983, and investigators found her remains in the field in April 1984, according to the FBI. Investigators found two more sets of remains, one in 1986 and one in 1991, but weren’t able to identify them until January 2019.
The remains from 1986 were identified as Houston mechanic Audrey Lee Cook, who was last seen in December 1985, and the set found in 1991 was identified as Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme, who had last been seen in July of that year.
Tim Miller settled a lawsuit with then-Galveston County W.E. Korndorffer, who has since died, in 2000 after learning portions of his daughter’s remains had not been returned to him, Click2Houston said. When they were, he had her body exhumed and reburied, believing it was finished. But it wasn’t.
Last October, the county medical examiner’s office called again, this time telling him they’d found a box containing human remains, labeled with his daughter’s case number.
“You know, here we are, it’s just one of the thousands of mistakes that have been made in this case,” said Miller.
Miller said when he was notified of the newly located remains, League City police had sent them for DNA testing, but they’d been returned because police didn’t send a comparison sample.
“League City police department told them, ‘Oh, we asked Miller for his DNA and he refused to give it to us,’ which is a 100-percent lie,” said Miller.
County authorities, meanwhile, say they have tried to work with Miller, who launched Texas EquuSearch after his daughter’s disappearance because there had been no organized search for her. Paul Ready, an attorney for Galveston County, said that “things got antagonistic and the cooperation sort of broke down” after Miller hired an attorney.
Ready also said the county can’t be held responsible for an agreement signed by Korndorffer saying all Laura Miller’s remains had been returned.
“You cannot sue the county for breaching a settlement agreement we were not a party to. We did not sign the settlement agreement in question back in the 90s,” said Ready.
Miller scoffs at that, saying the county is offering him “silly arguments.” “It’s almost as bad as how they’ve handled the remains of Laura,” he said.
For him, there’s just one bottom line. “Do you think it’s right that now I got to bury the same child three different times because of y’all’s mistakes?” he said.
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[Featured image: A local church now owns the land known as the Killing Fields, and they have created a memorial to each of the four woman, decorated with photos and other mementos/FBI]