disappearance and death of 14 year old Richard J. Miller, Jr.

The Battle Creek Moon, Monday, October 10, 1898
The Sudden Disappearance Of Richard Miller

Richard, the fourteen year old of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Miller, mysteriously disappeared yesterday from his home on Coldwater street, and a two days' search has not disclosed his whereabouts.

The lad changed his clothes in the morning, attiring himself in a pair of overalls, a vest and shirt, and started out barefoot. He had a small stick in his hands and before starting out knocked some apples from an adjacent tree.

 He did not say where he was going and was not questioned.

He did not return to dinner, and the afternoon drew to a close. A searching party was formed of neighbors, and still he was missing.

This morning more men started out, and, in a sand pit near the house, they found the cane, one apple, and another half eaten one. Fearing a cave in, they dug out a large amount of sand, but could not find what they expected. The river was searched and every nook of the surroundings.

The boy has relatives in Sonoma, and it was suggested that he might be there, Hence his older brother started out to that place this morning. It is not thought, however, that he is there, because he usually brushes up a bit before going there, and he did just the opposite this time

There are many fears for his safety, as the boy has never been accustomed to such actions. It seems as if the earth had swallowed him up He does not like to be away from home overnight, and had no occasion to runaway

Later — Up to four o'clock no information as to the whereabouts of Richard Miller has been received from the Moon reporter, who is out with the searching party. The woods and underbrush have been completely searched, but there is no new clue.

The Battle Creek Moon, Tuesday, October 11, 1898

Searching parties have been working all day hunting for Richard Miller, the boy-who, so strangely disappeared Sunday. Tonight they will drag the pond and river for him.
There are several conclusions drawn, but it, seems that he is not alive. The case is very mysterious and is a puzzler.

The Battle Creek Moon, Wednesday, October 12, 1898
The Whereabouts Of Richard Miller Are Unknown.

And still the whereabouts of Richard Miller remain unknown. Wherever the boy may be, dead or alive, eighty hours of careful search in every nook and corner of the surroundIngs do not reveal any trace of the boy. The officers, who have begun to work the case, are known to have small clues, but naturally these must not be made public. It is said that detectives have ideas” as to how I. disappearance may be accounted for, but not as to where the boy or his body may be.
Last night Chief of Police Farrington, Constable James Elliott, and Captain Ireland, of the fire department, procured a boat and started up the river after a short trip over the pond. They did not drag the river. They took a jack” and explored the river very closely and carefully. They are sure that the boy is not there, but are contemplating another trip.
The theory that he was buried under the sand bluffs is losing ground, and there seems to be a general belief that he was not caught under the falling sand. There are still no definite clues to be stated to the public.
It has been suggested that a general searching party be formed and a more complete search started. If any 'one should start such a party, there would be very many volunteers.
The complete description of the boy has been given to the officers. He weighed 115 pounds and was rather tall, while his hair was light. He wore a straw hat, brown in color, and with a narrow rim. His eyes were brown. He wore a pair of blue overalls and a light colored shirt, and was barefooted.
It was also rumored about the street that Mrs. Lucy Palmer and Miss Eberstein had met the boy Sunday near Union City, but the Moon reporter found that this was not correct. The boy was seen at the sand bluff, and not any other place.
The Battle Creek Moon, Thursday, October 13, 1898
Richard Miller Whereabouts Puzzle The Officers

Another day has passed and still no trace of Richard Miller. The river was given another searching last night without results, and this afternoon Mr. Miller, the boys father, in company with Charles Clapp, has gone out toward Graham's lake in a buggy.

Mrs. Miller went through the boys effects last evening and found that he also wore a vest at the time of his disappearance but, no coat. Mr. Miller was interviewed by a Moon reporter this morning, but had little information to be made public. The boy was seen at the sand bluff by several different people, but he can not be traced a step beyond there.

The case continues to be one of the deepest mystery and the officers working for clues are sorely puzzled. It is strongly believed that the boy is not alive.

The Battle Creek Moon, Friday, October 14, 1898

Chief of Police Farrington received a message from the chief of Evansville, Ind., last evening, stating that Richard Miller was not with Santanelli, the hypnotist. It was believed by some that the boy had been led away by the hypnotist as a subject, but this puts an end to that theory.

The Battle Creek Moon, Friday, October 14, 1898
The Whereabouts Of The Boy Are Still Unknown.

The mystery continues to deepen in the Miller case, and no traces of the boy have appeared.
W. F. Farrington, the chief of police, has sent the following card to Albion, Athens, Union City, Sturgis, Climax, Coldwater, Homer, Hillsdale, Wicksburg, Kalamazoo, Jackson, |Jonesville, Leonidas, Lagrange, Ind. Burr Oak, Lansing and other places.

$25.00 REWARD

Offered by R. J. Miller, Sr., for information of the whereabouts of Richard Miller, Jr., who disappeared from home Oct. 9th, 1898, at 10 a. m. 14 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, light complexion, brown hair, scar on right leg just below knee; blue overalls, light shirt, gray west, dark brown straw hat, Wire all information at my expense.

The Battle Creek Moon, Saturday, October 15, 1898
No New Important Developments

Miller is not found. There are two new clues, however, one of the constables searching for the boy was informed by a farmer near Climax. that a medium sized lad, barefoot, brown hair and wearing blue overalls and brown west, passed through that place afoot Sunday afternoon. The Miller boy answers to the description but his vest was a kind of "pepper and salt” color. Some think this might have been Richard Miller and that he caught a freight train somewhere and run away. But the boy had no reason for doing this. He was well treated and never found fault. He would probably not have gone far with no shoes on.

This morning a large searching party of boys and men started from No. 4 school to make a thorough hunt. They were to go up to the Miller premises and follow the boys path as far as possible. The party has reported nothing thus far.

The Sunday Record, Sunday, October 16, 1898
The Strange Disappearance of Richard Miller,
An Interview With the Father of the Young Man.

One of the most mysterious cases of disappearance ever known in the vicinity occurred last Sunday, and is still under the shadow of doubt. Richard Miller, a 14-year-old boy, was the leading figure.
R. J. Miller, the boys father, was interviewed by a SUNDAY RECORD reporter and the circumstances correctly obtained, On Sunday morning the boy and his father went to the fields on their farm on the Coldwater road to feed the cattle, Returning, they stopped to pick up some walnuts and then proceeded to the house to crack them.

The boy, however, did not stay long there, but went to a neighboring apple tree, picked some of the fruit and, eating the apples, went up the road, disappearing from the view of his father, who saw him for the last time trudging along conteiıtedly with his apple and an old broom stick sawed into a cane. The boy proceeded to a sand pit about a quarter of a mile away and sat down to eat his apple. He was waiting for some boys who were going hickory nutting.

The boy was seen sitting in the sand by several people. This is the last ever seen of Richard Miller.

Next day the searching parties found the cane, an apple and one, half eaten, laying in the sand, while the spot where the boy had sat down was visible. There was the appearance of a fresh cave in of sand, and several believed the boy had been buried by the miniature avalanche, The spot was explored and the sand removed with shovels. A few feet within the diggers found two fresh pieces of apple peeling, and expected to find the boy every minute. But they did not. It was proven that his body was not buried Then a complete search was made of the woods, underbrush, and, in fact, the entire vicinity. Nothing was found except what is reserved for clues for the officers and not for publication. The river and pond were searched, but in vain. Grahams lake was dragged, and new searches followed in quick succession, but no Miller.

Several offered the suggestion that the boy had gone away with Santanelli, but telegram from Evansville, Ind., to Chief of Police Farrington denied this, A reward of $25 has been offered for the recovery of the body by the father, R. J. Miller. Several county and local officers are at work on the case, which is a puzzler.

The Battle Creek Moon, Saturday, October 29, 1898

R. J. Miller has gone to Richmond, Kentucky, in search of his lost boy, Bichard Miller, whose disappearance has been so mysterious. It is rumored that Santanelli, the hypnotist, wanted the boy to go and his mother refused.

He said he wanted the boy in his old clothes. Anyhow, Santanelli is in Kentucky, and the boy's father is after him. No word has been received from Mr. Miller since his departure

The Sunday Record, Sunday, October 30, 1898

There was no news of the whereabouts of Richard Miller. He has been gone three weeks and not been heard of at all.

The Battle Creek Moon, Thursday, November 3, 1898

I will pay 25 for the recovery of my boy, Richard Miller, or for his body if dead, who has not been seen since Sunday, Oct. 9.  - R. J. Miller.

I will pay 25 in addition to above for recovery of the body of the boy if dead. If it was supposed there had been a horse stolen the officers of this County would have offered a reward long before this. Neighbors and friends, we ought to see that justice is done, if foul play we ought to know it. A sufficient reward offered will Induce a good many idle men to search every lake, swamp hole, and every foot of ground within miles of Battle Creek. This mystery ought to be cleared up. What if it was our boy, - B. W. Pinch.

The Sunday Record, Sunday, November 6, 1898

Our citizens are beginning to realize the necessity of making up a sufficiently large reward to make it an object for the officers to redouble their efforts in the search for Richard Miller. Unfortunately his father is unable to offer five hundred dollars for his recovery, or doubtless he would have been found long ago. It is to be deplored that it is necessary to offer so great an incentive to further the search, but this being a fact, it is to be hoped that more kind hearted citizens like Messrs. Pinch, Parker and Turner will contribute to the fund.

The Battle Creek Moon, Wednesday, November 9, 1898
Body of the Miller boy supposed to be near the Headgates.

Considerable excitement was created on the streets this afternoon by the report that the body of Richard Miller, the mysteriously missing boy, had been found in the mill pond. The rumor originated from the report of a man by the name of Chris Martinussen, While fishing at the race head gate this afternoon he caught his line in a snag as he supposed, and when he pulled it up a piece of overall was attached to the hook. He tugged at the supposed snag for some time, until the hook gave way. The piece of overalling was about one foot in length, Martinuasen reported his discovery to police headquarters and the patrol wagon with dragging apparatus went to the headgates, and the police and firemen are still dragging the race as we go to press. A large crowd of spectators has also congregated at the spot. It is possible that the water will be let out of the race.

The Battle Creek Moon, Thursday, November 10, 1898
The New Feature of the Strange Disappearance.

At about 9:30 this morning Chief of Police Farrington, Officer Gilbert and Constable Moore went to the headgates and started another search for the Miller boy, on the clue of the finding of a piece of overall by Chris Martinussen yesterday, The water was let out of the race, and the three officers went from the headgates down the stream in a row boat. Nothing could either be seen or could be struck by the long pole.

All the recesses, flumes, etc., were looked into, the party exploring under the postoffice and the buildings and bridge on East Main street. Not A, particle of information was gleaned.

Martinussen has not got the piece of cloth in his possession. He says that he was fishing near the headgates when he thought he struck a snag. He pulled steadily but it was difficult to free the hook from the obstacle. When it did give way, the hook - brought up the piece of overall. Martinussen says he thought it would be unnecessary to keep this piece of cloth so he threw it back into the pond. It seems that if the "snag” was the body it would naturally have came to the top as quick as it was touched as it would be in a bloated condition. This would be the case in all events, unless the body was held down by weights. Anyhow the search was a fruitless one, and the affair is still a deep mystery.

During the past week several ladies have been raising by subscription another reward to be offered. The larger the reward the more the interest in searching. It seems impossible that any merchant would refuse to give something towards such a cause, under the circumstances. The total reward as it now stands is 110, distributed as lows: Sheriff Stone, $50.00; R. J. Miller, $25.00; B. W. Pinch, $25.00; A. S. Parker, 5.00; Alderman Turner, $5.00.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Friday, March 24, 1899

R. J. Miller, the father of the missing Richard Miller, will institute a rigid search of the banks of the Kalamazoo river as soon as the frost is out of the ground, for trace of the boy. A new development in the matter has at last put the searchers, it is thought, on a -line that will lead the finding of the lost one, but at present they refuse to divulge the nature it. Mr. Miller still clings to his original theory that the boy is dead. and as no trace of him has been found since his mysterious disappearance, it seems very plausible.
Battle Creek Daily Journal, Monday, May 8, 1899
The Missing Boys Body Found This Afternoon,
Mrs. Julia Willard Makes The Discovery -
A Coroner's Jury Summoned and Officers Working to Unravel The Mystery -
Foul Play Still Suspected

The long lost Richard Miller, or at least that which remains of his body, was found this afternoon at 3 o'clock by Mrs. Julia Willard, who resides on South Division street.

A Journal. representative was one of the first on the spot, and interviewed the lady. Her story is substantially as follows:

She claims that late last fall she dreamed that she would find the body of the boy in a large marsh several miles out in the country, and being superstitious, had spent most of her time looking for it since. For days she has been in the country, and as usual started out this morning on the search.

While passing the famous sand pit on Coldwater street, as was her custom, she glanced over the ground to see if any trace was there. Nothing apparently was in sight, and she continued her tramp out into the country. She visited the home of Mrs. Carl L. Holden and was there joined by a lady named Mrs. Matilda Burger, who occasionally assisted her in her Ehunts. They travelled about for several hours and being unsuccessful, returned to the road and started for home.

When in front of the sand pit, Mrs. Willard saw what she took to be the tongue of some animal sticking out of the sand, and the body buried beneath. Stepping up to the strange object she grasped it, pulled a little, and then emitted a scream that was heard for blocks around. She had taken hold of a human foot and the member was in a shocking condition from decay. The toe- were soft and spongy and nearly came off at the touch. With a stick, Mrs. Willard poked into the ground and discovered that a pair of overalls were on the limb.

With her companion she ran to the house of Chas. I. Clapp who lives just a few rods north of the bank and informed him of her ghastly find. He at once went to the place, saw the foot and thinking that it was the missing Miller boy, hurried to the telephone at the Thomas Mitchell homestead and notified the corner and the police.

He then ran to the bank again and was about to investigate the corpse by uncovering when he stopped remembering that it was the duty of the coroner to first view the body.

The patrol wagon with chief Farrington, under-sheriff Hamilton and deputy sheriff Elliott, Eugene R. Cole, P. W. Chase, Wm. Brown and Wm. Owens were soon on the field but owing to a long delay of the coroner, the body was left untouched until his arrival.

Whe he did arrive Thomas Micthell, one of the men, who searched this same bank, commenced the work of digging up the remains.

They were only a short distance under the surface of the earth and were for the time, only partially uncovered as the services of an undertaker were I urgently needed, owing to the terrible condition of the body. A stench that caused many to turn sick, arose, permeating the air for a long distance аround.

When at last brought forth to the light, it was seen that the dead boy was lying in a cramped position upon his side with the head towards the southwest.

The officers made a thorough examination of the surrounding ground for trucks but none were found.

Undertaker Keet removed the corpse to his private morgue on South avenue where it was positively identified as being what was once Richard Miller.

R. J. Miller stated to the Journal, that the opinion which he formed at the first to the effect that his boy had been foully dealt with, is stronger than ever before. Certain circumstances in regard to the mysterious affair have turned up this afternoon, which the officers are not willing to make public at present and it is stated that some sensational evidence will be put forth at the time when it should be shown up.

Coroner Robertson impanelled the following as jurymen: Eugene R.Cole, Chas. I. Clapp, Patrick Hart, Carl Freeman, P. W. Chase and William Brown. All were on the spot at the time of the exhumation. They adjourned to meet Friday morning at 10 o’clock.

A seemingly peculiar circumstance in connection with the finding of the body is that when he first disappeared, this very bank was given a most thorough search for him as he was last seen alive there by Miss Agnes Eberstein who was passing the place that afternoon, Oct. 9, 1898, on her way to Union City, and not a single sign could be found of the lad. Men with teams and scrapers dug away the earth for many feet, as it was thought that he had been buried in a small landslide but they were unsuccessful. And now to find the body at almost the exact place where they so diligently looked and hunted for it, is a very strange fact.

The remains were dressed in a pair of blue overalls and a striped shirt, the same as he wore when he left home on the date of his disappearance.

The flesh was very badly discolored and in places had dropped entirely from the bones.

At the examination late this afternoon it was found that the skull was crushed in and the right foot was broken at the ankle.

The reward of $200 which was jointly R. J. Miller and sheriff Williams for the recovery of the boy, dead or alive, will be claimed by Mrs. Willard.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Tuesday, May 9, 1899
Postmortem Reveals No Evidence of Murder.

A postmortem examination was held this morning at the private morgue of undertaker Keet, on South Ave,, of the remains of the body Richard Miller.
Coroner Robertson, Dr. L. M. Gillette, deputy sheriff Elliott, Richard J. Miller, father of the boy, Thomas Mitchell, William Brown, D. D. Peck and a Journal representative, were present at the examination, which was thorough in every possible detail.

The body had decomposed rapidly since being exposed to the air and the discolorations which are present everywhere made the work of investigation complicated and difficult.
Undertaker Keet with coroner Robertson and the other members of the party were gathered about the ghastly scene and the first named, removed the scalp from the head, so that a minute examination of the skull might be made for contusions or abrasures of any kind.

What was thought to be a break in the skull when first looked over late yesterday afternoon, proved be a decayed spot in the bone. and not a crush, as formerly supposed by the persons in charge of the remains. Not even the smallest trace of a blow, bruise or wound was in evidence, and after satisfying themselves on that fact, the examiners gave attention to the trunk of the body for possible clues to the cause of death there.

The ribs were found to be intact, the abdomen unmarked, and the bones of the back uninjured.

One of the witnesses remarked that the life of the boy might have been choked out and accordingly, the throat was given close attention for evidence of such handling, but owing to its being so horribly decayed, which would render all marks of force indistinguishable to the eye of man, little would be ascertained from that part of the body. No wounds or fingermarks were to be seen and the examination was fruitless, seemingly, in regard to the cause of the demise, if other than the theory that the lad was buried in the sand bank and smothered by the avalanche of earth, accidentally.

Deputy sheriff Elliott stated to the JOURNAL that when he was called, on, the date of the disappearance of Richard, he made it a point to look over ground for traces of his tracks leaving the spot.

At the top of the bank where he was seen by Miss Agnes Eberstein, there were foot prints of a barefooted person descending the incline to the bottom of the pit, and there, it appeared that the person had seated himself upon the ground, ate an apple, as the chewed up pieces of that fruit indicated, but from that place no tracks could be found leading in any direction.

If the lad had climbed up the steep and been buried under a dislodgement of earth, there very probably would have been found footprints ascending, but at that point, there are large number of the search who will swear that no dirt was dislodged as there was a large stump just above the place where the body was found yesterday noon, underneath which on Oct. 9, 1898, the earth was hard and compact from the action of the weather, and if it had been disturbed by a slide they would beyond all doubt have noticed it. That is according to the theories advanced by them and coincides partially with of those officer Elliott.

Richard J. Miller sr. says that it is and most reasonable advancement and in exactly the same as he believes.

He stated that from evidence which he has in his possession his son was the victim of a terrible assault and reports that L. C. Phelps of Verona, is also possessed of evidence, which at the proper time will be most damaging to the man whom they suspect of the crime.

Mr. Miller thinks that the boy was enticed into a building, murdered, the body hid in some isolated part of the country until after the sand bank was searched, and then taken at night and buried under the sand.

Several of the jurymen stated that the position of the body when found, would not indicate that it had been accidentally lodged there, as it seemingly would not have been lying with the head towards the south west and the feet towards the north-east if the victim of landslide.

The result of the inquest which will be made known tomorrow, will be of great value to the officers as they will not leave a single iota unturned in ferreting out the mystery.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Tuesday, May 9, 1899

Those who think that the Miller affair was accidental, say that the young man was possibly playing in the sand and digging a hole into the bank and while bending over the strata above, causing it fall over upon him. The searchers may not have investigated thoroughly and worked below the location where the body was found, thinking that the remains were lying in the pit at the bottom which would be natural as the rolling sand would tend to carry any object down to the foot of the bank.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Wednesday, May 10, 1899
Sherriff Williams, Pros. Att'y Hatch and Other Officers Investigate The Sand Pit - Strong Evidence Of Foul Play

Late yesterday afternoon, sheriff Williams, chief of police Farrington, prosecuting attorney. Hatch, deputy sheriff Elliott and a Journal representative visited the scene of the finding of the body of Richard Miller, where the, officers conducted a very vigilant search of the entire premises, from the sand-pit to rods away in the adjoining country.

The sandpit was first explored and measurements taken regarding the position and location of the remains, the height of the bank, and depth and kinds of the different strata of sand.

Sheriff Williams lead the way up a narrow ravine to the remains of an old barn in which R. J. Miller claims to have the best of reasons for think his son's life was taken.

Since the disappearance of the boy the barn has been partially taken down and all that remains of it are the stone walls and here, and there portions of the framework. A resident in the immediate vicinity was also given a call and the officers investigated certain circumstances which at present are withheld.

The party then returned to the sandpit and, later, went to the home of Thomas Mitchell, who will no doubt be one of the most important witnesses in the case, if arrests are made.

He explained the condition of the sand and ground at the time immediately following the apparent swallowing up of Richard, and he was one of the foremost searcher.

To more fully describe and illustrate his knowledge of the fact, he accompanied the evidence seekers back to the bank, and with a shovel, uncovered the place where the body was discovered.

To the satisfaction of the observers of his work, he thoroughly refuted the argument advancing the theory that Richard dug a hole in the and was covered up and smothered by a cave in.

At the exact spot where the boy was found the earth was shoveled away, and it was seen at once that no cave in had ever occurred at that place, as the veins of the sand of different shades were unbroken and even, as uncovered.

A small-indenture was made in the bank, bringing down a huge mass of dirt and wherever that was done, the fall of earth followed almost as soon as the cavity was commenced, showing that no could be made.

The evidence which was collected by the authority would tend to materially strengthen the theory wherein the body was supposed to have been removed from some other location, placed in the bank and covered up in a way apparently natural to the eye of one who did not give attention to details, but to the investigators it seemed obvious that the hand of a human being had been connected with the case.

The corpse was found lying upon its side on a broad layer of hardened sand, which has evidently been solidifying for years, as the veins in the gravel of different shades were well defined, and this is the point which the officers lay great stress upon as underneath the body, not the least bit of loose dirt or that which had ever been loose, was found, and if the lad had met death accidentally while digging a hole in the bank, some of the earth would have been found under him and about his limbs. But none was discovered, thus seemingly, indicating that the corpse had been laid there after death as in the struggle for life under the sand if such took place, some of the dirt would certainly under his side.

This will according to the statements of the officers, be shown up and demonstrated at the inquest.

Where the remains of Richard were found it is positively known to the authorities that when the search was instituted on the afternoon of October 9, 1898, that spot at least six feet back into the solid bank which had never been disturbed by earth slides or any other natural movement.

Prosecuting attorney Hatch and sheriff Williams have looked into every theory and rumor that has been rife since the date of the disappearance and both are quite convinced there is strong evidence of a crime having been committed.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Thursday, May 11, 1899

The report was circulated about the y this morning, that John Cotton. It whittier avenue, chanced upon in circumstances on the night of April 27, at 11 o'clock, that may be of value to the officers in ferreting out the strange mystery of the disappearance of Richard Miller.

He, in company with his wife, were returning from their farm, which is located seven miles from town on the coldwater road, and the following acts of the incidents which they encountered while enroute home from that place, were obtained in interview with Mrs. Cotton by a JOURNAL representative this noon.

They were driving along the highway at a moderate rate and when approaching the famous spot, the, sandbank where the boy Richard was thought by many at that time to be located, and also by Mr. Cotton and wife, the latter spoke up and said that she thought she perceived a light ahead some distance down the road. upon nearing the bank the occupants of the vehicle saw two men, one holding a lantern and the other wheeling a wheelbarrow at the foot of the sandbank.

At the time, Cotton thought of nothing else than that a, holdup was about to occur, and whipping his horses into a run, dashed by the men who tried to hide themselves away in the bushes at the side of the roadway.

Cotton continued keep his steeds on the run, but his wife looked around and saw the men sneaking out again and disappearing over the top of the hill.

Nothing more was thought of the affair until the discovery of the body of the lad in such a decomposed state, and it at once dawned upon the witnesses of the nocturnal happening, that those two men whom they saw on that night, might have been attempting to remove or disturb the body.

Neither Cotton or his wife are able a give a description of the men and the identity of them may not be disclosed for some time.

The officers who are at work on the solution of the case think that the occurrence will have great bearing upon the solving of the whole affair, and claim to be possessed of further evidence in regard to what the men were doing upon that night, but are unwilling to divulge but little of it at present.

Mrs. Cotton stated that she saw no tools in the hands of the men, but would not swear positively that they did not have any. Her husband is out of the city today, and a statement from him was impossible to secure.

Those who are possessed of authoritative knowledge in the case think that the men were aware that another search for the body was soon to be begun in the sand bank again, and were either about to more thoroughly secure the corpse from the hunting party or were going to remove it to some other place.

It is said several of the jurymen that a host of witnesses will subpoenaed for the coroner's inquest which occurs tomorrow, and some very valuable timony may be gotten hold of.

Deputy Elliott, one of the head officers who is investigating the evidence at hand, is not willing to tell what further, development are expected, but be made known soon as practicable.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Friday, May 12, 1899
The Jury Are investigating the Death of Richard Miller Today - Some of the Testimony.

The coroner’s inquest investigating circumstances in connection with finding the body of Richard, son of R. J. Miller, is in progress today in the rear once of justice Bidwell.

The inquest began at 10 o'clock this morning with coroner Robertson in charge. Prosecuting Hatch is present. The jury consisting of Charles I. Clapp, Eugene R. Cole, P. W. Chase, Patrick Hart, Carl Freeman and Wm. Brown, are giving the closest attention to the testimony which is most interesting and a large crowd of spectator are present.

Mrs. Julia Willard was the first witness sworn. She was the lady who made the ghastly discovery of the in the sand pit.

She testified to having have a dream last fall shortly after the disappearance of the boy; told several people that she saw a man put a body in a box. load it into a wagon, drive out to the country into a woods near a swamp and deposit a long box; the man was dark complexioned, black mustache and was with two other men; witnessed said that she believed in dreams. Dreamed three nights running exactly the same thing. Her relatives scoffed at her story. A Mrs. Tompkins had told R. J. Miller that Mrs. Willard had had such a dream; witness went out to hunt last Monday, with her sister, Mrs. Burger: did know that a reward was offered until she saw it in the JOURNAL.

She saw Mrs. Miller after and told her that she was going to find the boy for her sake and not for the reward; she started out on foot, but Chas. I. Clapp wanted to take her in a carriage, but as he was eating his dinner, she went out ahead and passed the pit, up to the house and barn of Frank Holden; saw his wagon and horse and thought that it was like the one seen in the dreams. The barn did not look suspicious; then went to the sand pit again dug into dirt, and later saw what she thought was a beef's tongue protruding from sand, took hold of it and saw that was a human foot, picked up a stick and dug away sand from the foot and saw the overalls. She later notified Chas. I. Clapp: saw the body taken out and it had hat drawn over head: her sister was also there at the time.

When she was at the house of Mrs. Holden the latter came out and wanted to know what she wanted and ordered her off the place; does not know Holden or his wife. She told Mrs. Holden that she wanted to buy a place but Mrs. Holden did not believe it. Witness stated that she had visited the place with Chas. Clapp where she dreamed the body was put, could not tell where that was but found the place, as it looked familiar, having seen it in her dream. In her dream she saw the man put the box in the swamp. She is not well acquainted in that vicinity. The body laid lengthwise of the bank, as she saw it. Juryman Clapp asked witness if she mistaken about Mrs. Miller mentioning Holden's name. Mrs. Willard stated that she knew of no for suspecting Holden other than that he appears the same as the ark man she saw in her dream.

MRS. BURGER SWORN. - Mrs. Burger, sister of Mrs. Willard, sworn. She stated that her sister had told her about the dream, the same as she had testified. Witness had talked it over with her several times but rather doubted it. The dream, she thinks, occurred before the reward was offered. Early this spring they had talked it over again. They started on Monday last at 11 o'clock and visited Mrs. Miller about the case: witnessed the circumstances given in the testimony of her sister. After looking at the pit they went to Holden's premises and saw the wagon and barn: heard her sister say, “that is the wagon I saw in the dream.” she thought one side of the barn was sunken down. After that they returned to the sand bank and noticed where the edge of the bank had caved away. She saw a mound of dirt that appeared to be loose, but found nothing suspicious when digging into it. Her sister ascended the bank and suddenly screamed, and cried, “Oh I've found a foot!” and then sent for Chas. Clapp. Her sister had a dream in Vermontville that came true in regard to locating some stolen tools, and were found hid upon the land of the thief.
In response to a query by juryman Cole, she stated that she did not hear her sister say when she had the dream that the body seen was that of the Miller boy. Witness stated that her story was poor in regard to the small details of the case.

THOS. MITCHELL - Thomas Mitchell testified as follows: I live on Coldwater road near the sandbank: had heard of the disappearance of Richard Miller and was present when the body was found at the north end of the bank, about five feet from the top of the place; was at scene soon after the discovery and did not know what the find was until it was uncovered; identified the body as that of young Miller but did not do so by the clothing except the blue overalls, the feet of the corpse were bare: helped take the remains out: do think that it was possible that the was caught by an accidental cave in.

Witness gave his reasons for so thinking to the jury, substantially the same as was mentioned in Wednesday’s JOURNAL. He thought, that if the bank had fallen upon him, the would have been in a different position from the one he was found in.

The reason that he thinks the body was not laid there by a human hand in that no landslide had ever taken place, it was impossible for the boy to have dug a hole in the bank large enough to crawl into as the bank keeps caving in all the time, when that is tried.

Last october when he, with the searching party looked for the boy in the sand bank, he is certain that the body was not there as no slide had occurred and to prove his theory he had dug all over the ground: found however a few apple chewings which had been covered up at the bottom of the pit by a small amount of sand. The spot where he found the chewing was at least 10 feet from the place where the body was found: saw foot prints of a barefoot person who had descended the bank, and later sat down at the foot of the incline.

He swore positively to the above statements: thought the body was found about five feet from the top. He was certain that a person climbing up the bank not have been so buried as the body was found. In the witness opinion he stated that it was impossible for the body be there without being placed there.

Mitchell stated to the jury that the only way the body could have been so placed was that one must dig down to a layer of hard sand, place the body there and then cave in the dirt above.

When the body was found no dirt whatsoever was under him. He thought the corpse had been buried there sping time. Had been past {rest of page is torn off} several times just before the corpse was discovered, and had noticed an odor coming from that quarter.

He had been called an expert by attorney Hatch and juryman Clapp wanted to know, when his experience as an expert had been obtained, and he answered that he was foreman of a railroad grading gang for several years, until lately.

Witness said that the spot where the remains were found was last fall covered by a depth of dirt, at least six feet thick, and the boy could not have dug into the bank six feet.

CHARLES HICKS was called to the stand and related his knowledge of the case as follows: I examined the sand bank and saw foot prints of bare feet, soon after the disappearance of Richard Miller, previously to visiting the pit, had searched the woods in the surrounding country with R. J. Miller, and also looked over all suspicious places. Dug out all loose dirt in sight at the pit but found no trace of the lad, other than apple cores, one whole apple, and a broomstick, which Richard carried. Repeated the search at the sand pit three times during the day, but was unsuccessful. Witness though the spot where the body was found was solid, and had never been moved, and swore positively to that statement. Had had considerable experience in drawing sand and knew that it was impossible for anyone to dig a hole of any size in the bank, as the sand is dry, almost like powder; he agreed with witness Mitchell that the body had never been accidentally buried at that place, thought that the corpse had been laid there, was positive it

EUGENE RICE - was one of the searching party, and used a large scraper in looking out of for the lad as he thought the boy was in the sand bank. At that time, the are bank where the body was found was at least six feet farther out than at present; witness stated that he noticed a small slide of earth some distance from where the remains were found. He agreed with the two preceding witnesses in regard to the condition and position of the body when found.

LOUIS NEWBRE testified to a few minor circumstances Gaze which were of little interest.

R. J. MILLER - father of deceased, took the stand and testified that the lad was last seen at 10 o'clock on Sunday morning, of Oct. 9, 1898, and related the story of the mysterious disappearance of the boy, and the details of the search. Witness said that he noticed, track of men about the bank, in addition to the footprints of a barefoot boy, the latter he identified as being those of his son. This was near where the body was found. They were in such a position that a small slide of dirt would have obliterated them. The witness stated that he recognized the body as being that of Richard by the clothing and contents of pockets, which were two jack knives, trouser guards, a notebook, one silver quarter; also by the hair, which was of a light color. He is certain of the identification.
Mr. Miller stated that he thought the body had been put in the bank as the position in which he was found was cramped, and would be hard for a person to get in if accidentally buried: thought that it had been removed Веати from some other place.

Case adjourned until 2 o'clock pm.

The afternoon session was begun at 2:30 p.m. and the number of those in attendance was noticeably smaller than that in the morning.

OFFICER ELLIOTT - Deputy Sheriff Elliott was sworn: He was one of the first to look into the case, and was in the searching party on the day following the disappearance, and gave particular attention to any visible movements of the earth at the bank: noticed a small landslide several feet from the spot where the boy was found; looked to see if the bank was intact.

He was certain that the body was not buried there at that time: witness was at the sand bank when the corpse was taken out and noticed that it was in a cramped position: admitted that it might have been possible that the boy was buried accidentally but he did not think that such was the case: stated that he is certain that the body had been placed in the bank after the search first instituted last fall and is more certain that there were no material landslides at that time.

B. POWELL - Ex-constable Alden B. Powell, an officer at the time of the disappearance, was sworn and stated that he investigated the condition of the sand bank and noticed a small landslide. He did not make a very minute examination of the place as he knew that it had been looked over by other parties

L. K. PHELPS - Took the stand and stated that he went past the sandbank the afternoon of Oct. 9, on a visit to a Mr. Dolph: went on a wheel, rode down south Jefferson street and then out the Coldwater road.

At the foot of the bank was another rider coming along and in turning out of his way, fell off. He then leaned his wheel at the side of the bank. Then from over his head heard a strange noise, like that of a horse kicking, and later a low gruff voice and then a low groan: thought someone had a sick horse, but thinking that his services were not needed, did go up.

He is quite certain the voice was that of a human being. Thinks that it was a minute or two before the noise stopped.

No human being was in sight and he was mystified and went up the road and looked back and saw an old barn at south end of the top of the bank and he thought that from that building the voice came. The barn has been torn down since and he would not be sure that he could locate where it stood. Did not know how soon after the incident that the barn was removed. He did not know exactly what time it was but thought It was very near noon.
When he heard the noise, for some strange reason he connected the sound with the strange disappearance of Miller, he having heard of the an affair soon after it happened.

He does not think that it was a horse making the noise, but it was similar to a groan. He heard after the groan stopped a heavy dull thud, as if some body was striking the floor, he did not think that he told anyone for a considerable time after the mysterious incident took place.

“The noise could not have come from anyone under the sand,” was answered by the witness to a question put to him. Mr. Phelps still on the stand as we go to press.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Saturday, May 13, 1899
continuation of the Evidence in the Miller inquest, Adjourned until Tuesday.
Witness Phelps" testimony was concluded shortly after yesterday's report closed. Nothing further portance was brought out.

FRED DOLPH was the next witness called to the stand. He is a paper hanger employed by R. J. Miller, and a familiar with the sand pit, as he has at time visited that place for sand to be used. On the afternoon of the disappearance he was not aware of the boy being absent, and by chance happened to walk up past the pit and noticed nothing there that would indicate that the ground had been disturbed. On the following morning he learned of the fact of the case to the effect that Richard had left home and was not to be found, and with a party of searchers he went to the sand pit, but they saw nothing suspicious or any evidence that showed an trace of the lad. He is most positive that the boy did not dig a hole in the bank as such is impossible, according to his statements, owing to the quality and condition of the sand. The position in Ilien the remains were found satisfied him that death was not accidental.

CHARLES H. GILBERT was sworn, and stated that he assisted in the hunt for the deceased on the Monday morning after the date of the disappearance. He gave his view of the sand bank question, and agreed with the previous witnesses that the body was placed there after death by the hand of man, since last October.

GEORGE M. MILLS - an employe of R. J. Miller, also took the stand and gave evidence very similar to that given by the preceding witness.

CLARE ROSSMAN was sworn and stated that he was one of the searchers for the body when it turned up missing. He made a very careful examination of the bank, and condition of the sand at that time, and found no place where the dirt appeared to have been moved. He used a small flat board in scraping away the earth from the layers of sand, and noticed particularly that not a single vein in strata was broken. This was immediately after the disappearance when he made this investigation, and he saw no sign of a landslide, anywhere. He said that he was certain that no doubt existed in his mind but that the boy was put in the bank after death. The witness stated that when he searched the place last fall, in October, there was at least three or four feet of solid earth over the spot where the deceased was recently found.

MRS. EMMA SHEPARD - a resident of Coldwater street, in the vicinity of the sand bank, was called to the witness stand, and said that she was called to testify in regard to what a woman, Mrs. Frank Holden, had told her about certain circumstances of the case, and knew nothing about the bank or finding of the body. Attorney Hatch announced to the jury that such testimony would not be placed on the official record, but was to be taken by them for what it was worth. The witness stated that she was returning from church on the night of Sunday, Oct. 9, 1898. and when nearing her home, saw a little girl ahead and a lady, both of whom she recognized as being members of the Holden family. The lady proved to be Mrs. Holden, and the girl, her daughter. The former was about to visit some friends on the way, and wished the little girl to go home alone, but she asked to be accompanied by Mrs. Shepard, who was told by her that she was afraid to walk in the dark, as something had occurred lately that frightened her very much, but what that something was, she would not tell. The next morning Mrs. Shepard made a call at the Miller home, having heard of the loss of the boy, and wished to extend her sympathy to the parents, while there, Mrs. Holden called also and later they both left together. The last named told her on the way out of the yard that she did not think that the boy was in the sand bank but was somewhere else where he was being concealed This was said, so the witness stated, in answer to a question asked by her, as to whether Mrs. Holden thought the lad was in the bank or not. The later said further that her husband had left the night before, which was Sunday night, with his wagon and team for Athens, but she did not know what he went for Mrs. Shepard stated that they parted at that point and nothing more was said about the matter. Witness knew of the old barn where L. K. Phelps said that he had heard the groans and strange noises issuing from and was aware that it had been torn down a short time after the disappearance of the boy, but as it was in the best of condition as regards durability, she had wondered why it had been demolished, although never taking the trouble to find out. This barn was the property of Frank Holden and since, he has built a new barn nearer his house.

MRS. THOMAS MITCHELL - wife of expert Mitchell who was on the stand in the morning, stated that she was aware of the same facts by hearsay, as were told by Mrs. Shepard and as she knew nothing else concerning the case, she was excused.

MRS. FRANK RILEY - sister of of Richard Miller, took the stand but she too knew nothing but what Mrs. Shepard has related and her services were dispensed with.

J. D. COLE - related the following circumstances: On the morning of Oct. 10. he was at work on Coldwater road when R. J. Miller drove along with his horse and carriage and asked if he had seen anything of his boy Richard, and being answered in the negative drove on out in the country. Before leaving him, however, he told Cole of the disappearance of the lad and asked him to keep a lookout for him. Witness went to the Miller home and had a talk with Mrs, Miller about the affair. she wished him to go to the sand pit with a shovel and assist in searching that place. He did, and found several other men there, but without tools, He procured more shovels and they set to work. They dug out some apple cores, but nothing else of any bearing upon the case. The searchers noticed the presence of a small landslide and they dug through it to the solid layer below, which had not been moved in the least. He was at the spot when the body was uncovered at its recent discovery, and saw Thomas Mitchell scrape away the dirt from it. He (Cole), thought that the ground had every appearance of having been levelled off by hand. The body lay upon a level place, which was smooth and unbroken. The witness thought that if the body had been caught in a cave-in, the position in which it was found would have been much different, and the body would have been carried the foot of the incline rather have lodged in the peculiar and slumped position as found in, upon, a shelf of sand. He was sure the death was not accidental and explained his reasons for so thinking by nearly the same arguments given by the other witnesses. Several questions were put to him by the jury nut he answered them without becoming confused in the least. {Bottom of column torn off} the trend of the previous evidence He thought the body was accidentally buried by a cave-in and swore positively that from actual experience he knows that a person can dig a hole in the sand-bank in question deep enough to crawl in. It was in that way that he thinks the boy met death. He claims that he has taken dirt from that pit for years and part of the earth is of a quality that would hold up and not enough for a large hole to be made. He said that it was only yesterday that he saw several children digging holes in a bank, the quality of the dirt of which is almost exactly the same as the one where the body was found. The witness stated that in his opinion the boy scraped a hole down to the hardened layer of smooth sand where he was found, and the overhanging bank buried him accidentally. He said that he did not suppose that Richard dug much farther into the bank than two feet or less, for more than that would be conducive of a slide. The boy probably excavated the recess and cramped himself into it with the fatal results. Last fall the witness hauled sand from this pit and saw no reason why the sand should not hold up when only a small hole was made in it. Wright stated that he supposed the lad was playing at the bank and inade the hole so that he could get in and escape the cold wind. The witness agreed with other witnesses that the small cave-in seen at the time of the disappearance, was caused by the movements of the hunting party, and he saw no disturbance of the earth at the spot where the deceased was found. The inquest was then adjourned to Tuesday morning, May 16, at ten o'clock.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Tuesday, May 16, 1899
Further Evidence Taken Today. Adjourned at Noon Until May 25.

As per adjournment, last Friday, the coroner's jury in the Miller case was brought up this morning in the court of justice Bidwell, coroner Robertson and attorney Hatch conducting the case.

The room was very nearly filled with spectators who were curious to hear any new developments

No remarkable testimony was given although some of it was of great value to the officers working on the mystery.

Was the first witness sworn and testified as follows: “I was called to assist in making the examination of the body of Richard Miller, on the morning of May . The remains were on a cooling board and were in a thorough state of decay. Owing to that fact a thorough post mortem inspection was difficult. All the tissues of skin and muscle were thoroughly inacerated and peeled from the bones. The scalp, skin and flesh of the head were loose from decomposition. It appeared at first that the bones of the leg were broken, but it proved to be only separated by decay and not broken. I divided the scalp, examined the cranium which was unbruised and unmarked and no bones on the legs, arms or trunk were fractured. The thorax and abdomen was not closely examined owing to the terrible stench.

There was no indication of a fracture anywhere on the body. I found no indication of violence whatever upon the remains. The body looked as if life had been extinct for an indefinite period."

 Attorney Hatch asked if the body had been bruised could the witness have noticed it, and also if any choking of the throat had occurred. He was answered that the body was so much decayed that he could not state positively on that point. He saw no evidence that the body had been strangled. Medical testimony regarding the cause of death would not be of much value owing to the condition of the body.

 Mr. Hatch asked if the ribs would have been broken if the dirt had caved in on him, and was answered, **No," unless there were large stones in the earth. I did not see the sandbank where the remains were found."

C. J. MILLER. Testified: “I live on the Coldwater road and am a farmer: I was one of the searchers who first hunted for the boy Richard after his disappearance. I used my team and dirt scraper, in digging away the bank, upon request of the other searchers.

I, with others, dug down several feet to the white sand and gravel at the foot of the bank. The earth there was undisturbed. Saw the stump at the top of the bank and described its position.I was at the bank when the body was taken out of its sepulchre. I thought the body was very much cramped up and lay on a level surface which looked as if it had been levelled away by hand and later a cave in had taken place. The head was almost on a level with the feet and this is the reason it looked to me as if the corpse had been laid there; the spot where the body was discovered, was covered by at least three feet of solid earth when I searched for the boy in October last. I thought that the boy would not have been in the position that he was found if Richard had been going up or down the bank and think that it is improbable that it was accidental. I admit. however, that the boy might have been accidentally buried if he dug a hole in the sand, but am hardly of the opinion that such was the case. Owing to the kind of sand, I know that it is very easily moved and caved.

 I noticed no change in bank at or after the time the boy disappeared.

The stump," as the witness stated, was several feet south of where the body was found.” This was in answer to several similar questions from the Jurymen, who were rather in doubt as to the location of it.

I saw no sand roll down the bank when I worked with my scraper in October. I have searched there this spring and saw no dislodgement of the earth. I think that Richard would have had to have dug a hole three feet deep to get into and be buried, but I know not whether much a hole was dug or not.

MRS. GEO. WILBER testified: “I live at the corner of Coldwater street and Columbia avenue: knew Richard Miller, and know Frank Holden; I never heard any trouble between Holden and Richard, but heard the former have words with his wife. I live across the road and could hear the disturbance but could not distinguish what they said. Heard Richard Miller make remarks to Holden's children that might cause trouble, but do not remember what was said. My husband asked Richard about it, and he said, "Holden called me a fool, and I said in return, There's Holden's fool, I did not know he had a fool," and later seeing Mrs. Holden I said: "Holden has two fools, but Miller. has only one." Mr. Wilbur was fearful that Holden would hurt the boy, and thereupon told Richard to go Witness remembered that Holden accused the boy of throwing stones at his horse. Have heard Holden tell Richard to shut up,” but I never saw the boy do anything out of the way but call names. I have seen Holden throw stones at Richard, but do not remember when. He did it more to scare the boy than to hurt him, I think. - I don't know that he ever threatened Richard. He was constantly having trouble with all the children in the vicinity. I don't think he is a vindictive man, nor would be likely to injure the boy intentionally. I moved there in the spring of 1898, and noticed at once that Holden was always having trouble. No harmony ever existed between Holden and the neighbors, and he was never friendly to any of them."

Stated as follows: “I know of bad feelings existing between Richard and Holden: the latter guyed Richard about his foolish brother. One night Holden carine down to my store and said, "If you don't take care of that boy I'll put him where the crows won't get him, as he insults one nearly every time I pass him and I am going to have him arrested." The witness said that Holden threatened the boys I life several times. I never saw him make an attempt to harm the boy, but I heard that he had from Richard and o hers. The bad feeling existed a long time.

Richard used to be threatened while on his way to Mrs. Dolphs, which is south of the Holden Holden has a quick temper and is a violent man.

 I noticed after the disappearance that Holden tore down his barn, moved his out-house, and built a new barn a once; he tried to employ two carpenters, but they would not work for him. I noticed his horse standing hitched up on the Sunday night of the date of the disappearance. Holden never helped search for the boy that I know of, although my wife, Charles Clapp and Thomas Mitchell asked him to. He said in reply to the request, If I found the boy dead I'd be accused of killing him," and so did not join in the hunt.

Holden told my wife that "If R. J. Miller wants to and her why let him search for him himself." witness said Holden made other damaging statements to himself but the witness knew of them only by hearsay.

Of 65 Columbia avenue, was sworn: Knew Richard Miller well and helped search for him. Mr. Miller came to my house Saturday night Oct. 9, and asked if I seen the boy. I had not, but took a lantern and searched under the trees in the woods until 1 o'clock the next morning, but found no trace of the boy. I saw the sandbank when my attention was called to it by the report that he might have been buried there, but saw no trace of a landslide. I know that Holden is quarrelsome man and is always having trouble with the neighbors and children. I never saw him throw a stone at Richard, but on one day I saw him parade his premises with a gun to shoot the tres passing chickens. I never knew at that time of the disappearance that Holden took a box in wagon away with him on the night of Oct. 9. I know not why suspicion is laid upon him.

sworn. Know Frank Holden and knew Richard Miller. I know that they had trouble and remember one instance when Holden accused Richard of throwing stones at his horse, but I knew the accusation was false. i heard Holden call the boy a fool, several times, and also heard the conversation between the two at the time told by witness, Mrs. Geo. Wilber. I am aware that Holden made several threats, and think that that is the reason why suspicion was laid upon him. I remember of his taking a gun once before, and ordering my boy off his premises. Later he went down town and said he was going to arrest my son, and another boy. Constable Powell came up but made no arrest.

sworn. I live nearly across the street from. Frank Holden, and also knew Richard Miller, He was a constant visitor at my house and played with my son. I saw the wagon driven by Holden when he went to Athens. I was with Mrs. Newbre and can swear that he had no box in the wagon. I can swear positively to this as I know I would have seen it if he had. However he was putting something in the wagon, but what that was I know not. I am certain that it was very small and could not have been the body of a person. I know that Holden was not on very good terms with the neighbors, owing to his inability to get along with any children. Holden had a very high temper, that I am certain of."

The 12 year old son of Mr. Dolf was called to the stand and told what he knew without being sworn and related the following circumstances: “Holden was uot liked by the boys. I never saw Holden throw stones at Richard but have seen the latter throw stones in the direction of where Holden was at work, although not at him, but at birds. I heard Richard holler” on top of the sand banks on the Sunday morning of Oct. 9, 1898. We have a particular holler to call each other with, and I recognized the noise. Last summer he and I played woodchuck” and dug a hole in the sandbank one day, and, I got caught in a cave in by the head, but Richard pulled me out. That scared me and I never did that again and Richard was scared too.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9th, my dog was along and he was restless as if he smelled a rabit or gopher, near where the old barn stood. I gave the dog a tanning” and then he stopped being nervous and snuffling. He kept panting and I got a pail of water, and threw it on him, to make him cool. I did not go over the spot where the body was found but about three or four rods to one side.

When I dug the hole in the bank I it with my hands and it was only a small recess. Then the dirt above caved in on my head and shoulders. I helped search for Richard after the disappearance and saw that someone had jumped from the stump down into the sand, but there was no cave in there.

The witness was an amusing one and by his youthful speeches, provoked considerable mirth in the room.

Coroner Robertson then adjourned the inquest to Thursday morning at 10 o'clock, May 25th.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Friday, May 26, 1899
It is Nearly Concluded. The Accidental Theory Gains Ground by Today's Testimony.

At 11:30 oclock this morning the coroner's jury investigating the death of Richard Miller, who was found dead in a sand bank on Coldwater street, on the afternoon of May 8, was resumed and a large crowd was in attendance.

Coroner Robertson assisted by prosecuting attorney Hatch conducted the case, in justice Bidwells court.

CHARLES GILBERT - was the first witness to take the stand and said:
“I am familiar with the situation of the sand bank. I examined the sand after the disappearance of the boy. It was about 10 o'clock Monday morning and hearing there was reason for thinking the boy was buried there, I made my investigation. I looked very closely about the grounds to see if any earth was dislodged but found only one place, a small landslide. I went to the bank in the afternoon again and found a greater movement of the earth, but was informed later, that my son with others, had been jumping from a stump at the top of the bank. I saw no disturbance of the earth near or under the stump whatever. There might have been but I don't think such was the case. It would be almost impossible to dig a hole of any extent into the banks as I have taken sand from that pit for years and am certain that the earth is crumbly and would slide if the least disturbed ”

CLINTON L. HAMILTON, UNDER-SHERRIFF - was the next witness called to the stand. He testified: “ I was present when the body was found and noticed that it was lying on its side and partly on the front of the breast, with the legs drawn up to the head.

MISS AGNES EBERSTEIN - Who proved to be a most valuable witness, was sworn and testified as follows, On October 9th, Sunday morning, a lady friend and myself drove to Union City for a short visit, and left this city via. the Coldwater road. When passing the sand bank. I noticed a young lad near the top of the bank. At that time I thought he was sick, and was surprised at the strange position he was in. He was lying in a large hole in the bank with only his head and shoulders protruding. I thought it strange that he did not look up when our rig passed, and so watched him carefully. He was lying on his side and had an apple in his hand, although not eating it. I am most certain that the hole was near the top of the bank and about in the center of its length. It extended straight in and not downward.” Upon being asked by attorney Hatch as to who the lady was with her at that time the witness asked to be excused from answering, evidently not wishing to bring that person's name into court. "I saw not a team, person, or living thing of any kind there, anywhere near that locality.” juryman Clapp asked the witness several questions concerning her knowledge the position of the boy, and was informed that she could point out almost the exact spot where she saw Richard. Therefore attorney Hatch proposed that she visit the bank and show where she saw the boy. She consented, and with the officers went in a hack to the place.
Miss Ebersteins testimony was very valuable to the side holding that death was accidental. Her evidence innpressed the jury greatly.

WALTER KEET - the undertaker who took charge of the remains of the boy when they were found, was sworn. “I helped take the body out of the bank, and noticed particularly its position.” The witness then described how the remains lay, and gave other evidence of minor value. He stated in answer to a question, that he thought the condition of the body indicated that it had been lifeless for at least six months. Witness said that he saw no other kinds of earth adhering to the corpse than that in which it was buried in. He said, Of course it might have been buried by some person and placed in some box, and no dirt would stick to the body. Juryman Clapp asked whether the knees would not have been likely to have been cramped up similar to the position in which they were in when the corpse was found, if placed immediately after in a small box or barrel and the limbs cramped up. The witness stated that such would be very likely but he knew of nothing from his investigation that would indicate that such had been done. The inquest was then adjourned until 1:30 this afternoon.

The inquest was taken up this afternoon at 2 o'clock with

DR. I. N. MERRITT - on the stand who said I helped search in the sand bank in the latter part of last October for the of Richard Miller. I had a man dig all over the bank and he used a long iron rod to break the earth with. I remember seeing the stump at the top of the bank and explored at that point also. My assistant pushed the rod down to the hard layers and found no trace of the body. I do not think that the body was in the bank when I searched or I would have found it. I explored every foot of the ground, but dug only at the bottom of the pit. Upon further thought, I believe that I conducted the search in the early part of November instead of the latter part of October.
The witness did not remember of seeing any hole in the bank any of the time he searched.

GEO. W. LEE - was the next witness sworn. “I was pathmaster of the district on the Coldwater road when the Miller boy disappeared. I know that the bank was very treacherous and if any excavation was made, a cave in was likely to follow.
My knowledge I base upon my experience with the sand bank in question, as I have worked in it for some time in hauling sand and gravel. I saw the searchers digging in the bank for the body, and thought that they were through. When a hole is dug in this bank, the bank might stand up without caving for a short time, but is not likely to do so for any extent of time. In the spring after the winter freezing, the sand ís more likely to slide and cave down, owing to the breaking loose, due to the thawing. This bank does not freeze to any material extent.

FRANK REILY - took the stand. I visited the sand bank and saw Thomas Coyne and Thomas Mitchell searching for the body, They asked me to help search, in the digging. I noticed distinctly at that time, which was soon after the disappearance, that small tufts of grass were growing at the exact spot where the body was lately found. I know when the bouy --- and would say that the spot was, at the time of the body was found and would say the spot was, at the time of the disappearance covered by a considerable of layer of solid earth.

MISS CHARLOTTE MILLER - sister of Richard, was sworn and stated: "I am familiar with the sandbank where my brother was found. I went pass it on Sunday night of the disappearance but not search there until Monday morning. I remember {rest is torn off} in that time, but have at other times.
However I did not see any at the part of the bank where the boy was. Richard knew from his mother’s warnings that digging there was dangerous and I do not think that he ever dug one after he knew of the perilousness of it. I never knew of any time when the bank was not liable to cave when the least disturbed.

CHIEF OF POLICE FARRINGTON - was recalled to the stand. I visited the bank where the Miller boy was found, and at the time. I never was there before that time looking for the boy. When the corpse was found I noticed its cramped position, and think that it would be possible for it to be covered by accidental landslide or cave in. There was not a particle of sand in the boys hair as I looked for such when I removed the hat. In my opinion he could have been accidentally buried there, or put there by a human agency. Both are possible. By the way the hat was pulled over the head and the way the hair lay I don't think the hat had ever been removed.

MISS AGNES EBERSTEIN - was recalled: “I went out to the sand bank with Sheriff Williams this noon and should judge that the spot where I saw the boy was nearer the road than where the body was found, from that location I should say that it was 10 or 12 feet from that spot and lower down, where I saw the boy lying in the hole on his side. However the sand is subject to changes of nature and would possibly have shifted somewhat.”
Juryman Clapp asked the witness as to some statements made by her concerning the position of the boy soon after his disappearance, to himself, R. J. Miller, and others. His queries slightly nettled the witness burt she held to her sworn statement well and gave her testimony in a most consciencious and straightforward manner. Clapp thought that she stated at that time that the boy was sitting on the bank, but the witness said that the boy was laying prostrate and not sitting.

JOHN COTTON - was sworn: “I pass by the sand bank from 3 to 4 times a week. In the many times that I have travelled by it on my way to my farms in Leroy and Newton, I have noticed a few holes in the bank, and noticed one a short time before the boy was missing. As to the exact time before, I could not swear positively.
Coroner Robertson at this point and the inquest to Wednesday, May 31. One witness still remains to be examined. The testimony of the witnesses will be signed and at that time it is possible that a verdict may be rendered.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Wednesday, May 31, 1899

The coroner's inquest" investigating the cause of death of Richard Miller, met this afternoon in justice Bidwell’s court, Geo. L. Perry of the U. S. weather bureau, patrolman Butler and R. J. Miller testified. No new fact were brought out. Mrs. Sallie Palmer the lady who was with Miss Eberstein when she saw the boy at the bank was interviewed at her home on Marshall street by the jury but wave no new evidence. The jury later retired and are deliberating as we go to press.

Battle Creek Daily Journal, Thursday, June 1, 1899
Such A Majority of The Coroner's Jury Believe To Have Been The Demise Of Richard Miller

The coroner’s jury in the case of Richard J. Miller, the boy found in the sand bank, disagreed. The verdict rendered was na follows:

That the said Richard J. Miller came to his death on the ninth of October, 1885, in what manner and by what means the jurors sworn in this Inquest are unable to agree, five findIng accidental death, and one causes unknown.”

The verdict is about what had been expected by those who had followed the case closely and heard expressions dropped by the jurors.

Chas. I. Clapp was the one who hung on for causes unknown.”

There seems to be but one reason developed by the evidence, for believIng that the boy came to his death at the hands of any person, and that was the fact that no notice of a cave in where the body was found came to the attention of the many who visited the bank to search for the remains. This is partially explained by the theory that the boy dug into the bank and the earth dropped in upon him without making an extensive cave in or slide of earth, and was higher up and a little north of the spot where search was principally conducted.

On the other hand there was no appearance in the clothing even to the hat, to indicate that the body had been shifted about and again the chances of detection which a person would have undergone in moving the body back to the bank after it had been once carefully laid away beyond the search of those who had been hunting it, would have militated against any such procedure.

The verdict will not settle the matter in the minds of many who hold strongly to the theory play, and the matter bids fair to remain a matter for speculation in the years to come, though a large majority of those whom the Journal has heard express themselves, agree with the majority of the jury, that the I was accidental.

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