Tremendous Profile of Texas EquuSearch and Tim Miller by Dr. Katherine Ramsland on Court TV’s Crime Library
Dr. Katherine Ramsland has wrote a truly tremendous and comprehensive article on Tim Miller and Texas EquuSearch. A detailed account of Tim, TES, the volunteers and the searches for missing persons in an attempt to provide closure for the many grieving families. Closure is so very important so at least the healing process can begin.
For those of you not familiar with Katherine Ramsland, she is an accomplished author of twenty seven books such as Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice, The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, The Science of Cold Case Files, and Inside the Minds of Mass Murderers among the many. She also currently teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. Learn much more about Katherine Ramsland at her web site, www.katherineramsland.com.
The comprehensive article on Tim Miller an Texas EquuSearch takes us from the search for “Teeky” Buggs to the tragic loss that Tim Miller suffered in 1984 when Laura Miller was murdered and Tim’s life was altered forever.
When her mother asked her to hurry up because she’d be late for work, Laura wanted to continue talking. “It’s only half a mile,” she said. “I’ll walk.”
That seemed all right. It was the middle of the day and Laura knew her way back. But she didn’t come back. When her parents returned home from work, she wasn’t there.
For many people’s first and only thought of Texas EquuSearch is Aruba and their tireless searches for Natalee Holloway, including their planned upcoming return to do a deep water search. However, TES has not only done searches for other missing person, approximately 450 last year alone. Texas EquuSearch has also taken part in searches in Sri Lanka following the tsunamis in 2004 and in the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina.
An organization in Sri Lanka contacted TES, asking for their assistance to search for missing people. “We had no clue how we were going to pull that off,” says Miller, “but we did. I took 14 people to Sri Lanka for 14 days. In the first hour and 15 minutes, we found eight bodies. While we were there, we adopted a village, and when we left, it was cleaned up and ready to rebuild. In all, we found over 220 deceased people.”
In the U.S., they were close to the state of Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans and destroyed many homes, so once again TES pitched in.
It is a walk through memory lane of the trials and tribulations of what inspired Tim Miller to not give up, but instead to give back. The formation of Texas EquuSearch, a group of volunteers who want nothing more than to help other families find their missing loved ones and at the very least bring closure to them. As Barbara Gibson of Texas EquuSearch stated,
“Tim has created so much more than just a search organization,” Gibson adds. “It’s a place to heal and rechannel your energy into helping others. Many of our members are the families of missing persons whom we found deceased. Collectively, I feel all of our broken pieces help to make us whole again and better people than we were before.”
If anyone wants to understand why people join and volunteer for searches and become members of Texas EquuSearch you need to do little more than reread the above lines. Its about helping others, not only paying back, but paying it forward. Having taken part and being a volunteer member of this organization myself, I can honestly say it is a life altering experience. You can not prepare yourself for it and no one is sure how they will react before, during and after. However, you will know that the selfless act of volunteering to help a family you had no prior knowledge of is as rewarding as it is inspiring. Helping others and asking nothing in return but the hope that a family and their friends find their missing loved one and gain closure is reward enough.
We at Scared Monkeys would like to personally thank Dr. Katherine Ramsland for her reference of our web site and the work we do to help aide and provide whatever resources are needed with missing person cases. We were fortunate enough to do an interview back in July with Tim Miller. A live blog interview in real time discussing the case of the missing teen Natalee Holloway. A live on air blog interview had its mishaps a long the way, but created a bond in the learning process that will last a life time. Leading up to the interview, during and shortly after an understanding and relationship of mutual respect was born. Tim Miller asked me whether I wished to volunteer to go to Aruba and search for Natalee Holloway. The answer and the rest is history. As Katherine Ramsland writes in her article referencing the work we do; thank you Katherine Ramsland and than you Tim Miller for asking Scared Monkeys to be a part of the story and part of the Texas EquuSearch team.
TES participates with a blogging site, Scaredmonkeys.com, which among other things lists cases of missing persons and news reports that follow the progress of various searches. The Scared Monkeys cofounders, Red and Tom, came across TES as a volunteer was posting updates on the Aruba situation, so they invited TES to use their site. They added a Missing Persons board, consisting largely of people on the TES list, and did a live phone interview with Tim Miller. Then Red was invited along to Aruba as one of the volunteers. That gave him added incentive to keep the stories alive.
“Covering the case was one thing,” says Red, “in meeting, talking and discussing issues with the Texas EquuSearch volunteers. However, the story took on a whole new emotional and personal perspective when I spent ten days in Aruba searching in the landfill, searching with dog teams and searching the van der Sloots neighbor’s property. Digging in a landfill side by side with the TES volunteers and with family members such as Dave Holloway gave new meaning and a perspective to missing person cases that I could never have experienced by just writing about them. To physically be a part of the search team in the most foul-smelling, heat-exhausting, dirty landfill, and working side by side with Natalee’s dad was an experience that will last a lifetime. What transpired was an understanding of the perseverance and dedication of volunteer searchers and the will and determination of a family to find their daughter.”
Bloggers are welcome to post information or comments on the Scared Monkeys site about any cases in which they have information or leads. (During the coverage of Natalee Holloway search, the site logged 1.4 million unique visitors per month.) Many items feature the work of TES, and Scared Monkeys posts announcements to assist TES in recruiting volunteers, such as the following notice from January 26, 2006: “Texas EquuSearch Director Tim Miller is requesting volunteers for the search of Robin Turner on Thursday, January 26, 2006, at 10 A. M. Tim will need horses, 4-wheelers, and ground searchers. The command center is located at the Forest North Park on the corner of Peach Stone & Roseville in Spring, Texas.”
Robin required seizure medication, and since she had been missing for ten days already, the need to locate her was urgent. People responded and TES volunteers searched for only two hours and fifteen minutes on January 26, the same day the notice went up, before locating her body. Sadly, she might have been found alive had an organized search commenced immediately upon learning she was missing. But that requires letting the public know that these resources are available. Those who do know are doing their part to spread the word.
It has been an eye opening and rewarding experience to aide and help others in their time of need. The search and continued covering of the Natalee Holloway story has touched the hearts of many people who just want to help the Holloway and Twitty families find Natalee and closure. However, we realize that there are many cases that go on presently and will occur in the future. We look forward in continuing to help search for Natalee Holloway, maintaining the professional relationship with Texas EquuSearch and finding new organizations with the common goals of helping the missing and exploited.
“Scared Monkey Missing & Exploited looks to the future to continue to aid as a resource for missing persons,” Red states, “and potentially partner with others to effectively cause changes in how cases will be investigated. Missing person is a major issue of our day and no one should have to be victim to this crime or horrible tragedy.”