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This is an internal family briefing report after a thorough investigation and a close follow-up on the case of the death of Sharon Jane Miller. The premature death of Miller is one that remains unresolved due to inadequate evidence. The police and detectives took a special interest in the case and promptly arrived at the scene to help discern the cause of the victims’ death. A series of forensic evidence, interviews, autopsy tests, and witness statements form some of the efforts used to unearth the truth behind Miller’s death. More evidence is required to get to the cause of the victims’ death. Therefore, efforts by various departments are geared towards identifying the cause of death.
On the day of her death, she was to go out for lunch with her younger sister Valerie. The Sister of the victim was the first witness for the crime. She reported on the death of Sharon Jane Miller, born on July 10,1987, to the police. There was an 11:38 am (1138) record of a 911 call by Valerie, which followed the discovery of her sisters’ body in her apartment, in 16B East Locust Street, Virtual, MD. The examination conducted by the police, and verification of Valerie’s text messages which was received between her cell phone and Miller’s, confirmed that Valerie discovered the body when she went to pick her sister up for lunch.
Valerie told the police that her sister Miller had just ended a four-year relationship with her boyfriend identified as Todd Nathan Hughes. Miller’s boyfriend, who was 7 years older, was reportedly abusive, and, the end of their relationship was received with a lot of relief by Miller’s family members. Police records indicate that Nathan has an extensive criminal record. Cases against him in the past include domestic violence and drug abuse. A criminal record on domestic violence and drug abuse is also reflected in Miller’s file which also coincides with the onset of their relationship.
Police records show Miller’s ex-parte against Nathan who after his violation, faced an arrest and was released from jail on (06/15/11) just a day before Miller’s death. However, Nathan maintains that after his release from jail, he never had any contact with Miller because “he learned his lesson and opted to avoid her”. This is a confession that was backed-up by Nathan’s mother who, according to the police, was very scared during the interview thus, prompting further investigation into the cause of her worry and concern about the case.
Lacerations and bruises were evident on Nathan’s hands, but he claims he got them during his stay in jail. Through an interview with the jail officials, it was clear that Nathan had no record of being involved in a fight that could explain his injuries during his imprisonment. Up to this moment, Nathan’s mother remains the only alibi he has after his release from jail.
Dorothy Edith Miller (Miller’s mother), refuses any comments regarding Nathan’s jail release. Also, it is an aspect that is common for all members of Miller’s family members, as all of them refuse to give any comments. Based on previous threats by Nathan to Miller at the time of his arrest for violating her ex-parte, Dorothy and all of Miller’s family are convinced that Nathan is responsible for Miller’s death. This is a feeling that echoes even from Jeffrey Mark Miller who is Miller’s father through a record of his interview.
When Valarie went to pick up her sister for lunch, she found Miller dead in her apartment lying on her back. When discovered in her floral-print summer type “sun” dress, there were no visible injuries or possible causes of death that were established.
By turning her over, there was blood at the back of her dress and she had no underwear. Through a crosscheck, it was discovered that she was bleeding from her vaginal area. Injuries in the victims’ virginal area were termed as the main cause of the bleeding, however, according to medical experts regarding the cause of death, these injured could not be the main reason for death. Lacerations and bruises on the victims’ body, especially on her face and breast area, did not illustrate any possible bone movement or breakages that could lead to death.
Investigation and Evidence
Given the assumed timing of the victims’ death, only one witness who is a resident of East Locust Street -whose real identity remains sealed in this report-confesses to hearing a loud voice coming from the victim’s house at around midnight. However, she witnessed that she did not pay attention to those sounds, as considered them to be “usual squabbles” that were frequent for the house and decided to get back to sleep. The witness claims to have heard a male voice from the house but could not identify the male voice or place it as that of Hughes. She remains certain of the female voice she heard as Miller’s. The partially deaf witness, who uses a hearing aid, never saw anyone on June 16 and neither did she see Miller on June 17th.
The police arrived at the place of the crime immediately after Valerie’s report. 10 minutes later, the detectives arrived at the apartment of the victim to collect evidence and interrogate witnesses. The CSI’s experts were reported about the crime as well, and arrived at 12:01 pm, while the Forensic Investigator (FI) from ME’s Office was at the murder scene at 12:21 pm. Each department conducted a series of on-the-sight investigations.
A narrow search showed that at the time of the victims’ discovery, she wore no jewelry or additional clothing from the dress collected by police detectives. When the preliminary records were written and evidence was collected, the Foot livery transported the victim’s body to Virtual Hospital on June 17 at 1:34 pm. The FI ordered an autopsy of the body, and office personnel transported the victims’ body to the ME’s Office at 5:11 pm the same day.
The autopsy was performed by Dr. W. Young. The FI proceeded with the time of the victims’ death analysis at the crime scene. The reports provided by FI informed that the time of the death was between 11:30 pm June 16 to 2:30 am June 17. Livor mortis along back and rigor mortis in all muscles with the liver temperature at about 81.3°F, it was the information that helped establish the precise time of the crime.
Victim’s fingerprints and compare them with the police’s database helped provide formal identification of the victim. After the medical expertise, it was proved that the victim was exposed to sexual assault. Lacerations and contusions on the outer virginal area and the victims’ virginal cavity which contained criminal’s ejaculate material were the evidence of the forced copulation. Samples of the ejaculate material were collected by doctor Young and presented to the police detectives for autopsy. Also, blood specimen collected from the victim’s body by doctor Young was used for further autopsy and which could be used to identify the criminal.
The autopsy conducted by doctor Young presented no physical reason to cause the death of the victim. The contusions and lacerations presented on the face, breasts, thighs, and vagina of the victim showed no serious injury to cause death. The lacerations were not deep and superficial. Through an examination of the victim’s organs, every one of them was in their right shapes and sizes except for her vaginal cavity that had some damages. The autopsy, therefore, never gave any conclusive findings for the cause of Miller’s death and samples from her body were taken for toxicology and microscopic studies. These required, samples of blood from the heart, urine, vitreous humor, and multiple slices from the heart, lungs, and brain for further microscopic studies.
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The autopsy results that Dr. Young managed to come up with are not yet adequate to determine Miller’s cause of death. This calls for further studies and investigation into the matter. This has prompted him to file this case with the ME as undetermined pending the results of the microscopic studies and toxicology. Unfortunately, there is still no conclusion. Everyone with interest in this case and justice for the case of Miller’s death positively and patiently awaits the results of toxicology to determine the cause of her death. The Smith Family Funeral Home has the mandate to bury the body on June 19, 2011, by the request of family members.