Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller has found plenty of missing people over the past decade — but, at least as far as we can tell, it doesn't appear he's ever tried to obtain custody of any of them.
Just two days after an EquuSearch found the body of 15-year-old Abigail English, who had been missing for a month, Miller went on the news to say he wanted custody of the girl so he could give her a proper burial, since her own family apparently wanted to cremate her. English was a teenager with a rocky childhood who had been passed through the California foster care system until she was 15, when she moved to Texas to live with her grandmother, according to KPRC. Her parents, both drug addicts, were also apparently in the picture once she moved to Texas, according to KTRK.
We wanted to ask Miller to explain in more detail why he felt so strongly about fighting the state of California for custody of English and also overriding the wishes of her family, however fragmented. But his secretary told us he was too busy doing TV news interviews yesterday. As Miller told KTRK, he wanted to bury English's remains next to those of his daughter, 16-year-old Laura, so English wouldn't have to be alone in death. Laura had also gone missing in the 1980s until Miller found her himself, prompting him to later found Texas EquuSearch. Much as in the case of English, Laura was at first written off as a runaway.
As Texas EquuSearch posted on Facebook: "Tim wants to give Abby the family and love she wanted so much. Tim is now seeking legal custody and guardianship of Abigail English, so that he can bury her next to his own daughter, Laura. He also intends to have her own headstone made for her grave. Then Abigail will finally have a family that wants, and loves her. She’ll have the love of the Texas EquuSearch family."
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Her mother told KTRK that she has given Miller permission to do this, so now Miller is just waiting on permission from the state of California since it is the official legal guardian. English's mother told reporters that her daughter had been acting out weeks before her disappearance. On the night she went missing, she had taken the dog for a walk, but only the dog returned home. Her mom said she called the Shoreacres Police the next day, but since English had a history of running away, an Amber alert was never issued. Weeks later, a student facilitator at La Porte High School grew more concerned and decided to contact Miller's search crew. A single day later, they found English in tall grass near her grandmother's home. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Today would have marked her 16th birthday, as KTRK reported. Miller told the news station that her present today would be "having people come together as a family to show her she is loved."