29 Years After Mother’s Disappearance, Urgent Letter to Police Claims to Know More About Cold Case

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
May 21, 2018US News
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29 Years After Mother’s Disappearance, Urgent Letter to Police Claims to Know More About Cold Case
The anonymous letter sent to police on May 18 (R) and a photo of Barbara Miller (L). (Screenshots/WNEP)

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Sunbury Police in Pennsylvania received an anonymous letter that insisted on the existence of a link between two separate deaths—a 1989 cold case and a homicide of another man in 1986. The police are now appealing to the author of the letter to come forward because they believe the source can advance the investigation into the said 1989 cold case, also referred to as the Barbara Miller Cold Case Murder Investigation.

The letter was enclosed in an envelope with a tinge of urgency, whereby “HURRY DELIVER ASAP” and “ATTN BARB MILLER CASE” was handwritten on the front. The author appeared to be desperate for police to connect the murder of “Rickey [sic] Wolfe and the extensive drug trafficking revolving around the house in Milton.” The author also inferred that everyone was familiar with the former “Egan” situation, and referred to the victim as “this Barb.” The author also inferred that they knew a lot about the situation “in Milton.”

Administrative Chief of Police Tim Miller and Cpl. Travis Bremen believe the letter was written by someone close to Barbara Miller, and have via a press release (pdf) encouraged the author of the letter to provide more information.

“You haven’t told us anything that we don’t know the answers to, but we are interested in hearing more of what you have to say,” Miller and Bremen say in the release, adding that there have been recent significant findings.

“The clock is ticking and now is the time to speak up.”

Police also say witnesses believe Barbara’s death was carried out by an outlaw motorcycle gang “due to threatening letters [Barbara] Miller received prior to her disappearance,” therefore they are afraid to come forward with information. But Police emphasized there is “NO evidence” of motorcycle gang involvement thus far, and instead they believe the murder was committed by someone close to Barbara.

Barbara’s son, Eddie Miller Jr., told The Daily Item in 2017, “I have come to terms with her being murdered, but I just want to have peace and to know she was found.”

Chief Miller and Bremigen encourage anyone with information on the case to call 570-452-2809.

Barbara Miller Death and the “Egan” Situation

Barbara E. Miller disappeared in July 1989 when she was 30 years old, and her body was never found. Barbara was declared dead in 2002 after years of fruitless investigations, according to The Daily Item.

Her estranged boyfriend, Joseph Walter “Mike” Egan, was the last person to have seen her. Egan is a former Sunbury police officer who served jail time for extortion. He saw her last on July 1, 1989, and reported Barbara as missing on July 4, 1989.

Police had been investigating a home in Milton which once belonged to the sister of Egan in June 2017. Later in August 2017, police obtained a search warrant for Barbara’s home on Penn Street in Sunbury. After the search, documents suggest investigators believe Barbara was most likely killed inside her home, reported WNEP.

Ricky Wolfe’s Death—the Connection to the Miller Cold Case

“They’re finally putting together the pieces that are, I’ve been saying all along that have been there,” said Scott Schaeffer, a man who knew Barbara indirectly, told WNEP.

Ricky Wolfe was killed in December 1986. He was found beaten to death at a boat launch near Montandon. In August 1990, Scott Schaeffer was convicted of first-degree murder for Wolfe’s death. Prosecutors accused Schaeffer during his trial of being a member of a thug drug gang, and the state said it had evidence proving he was there the night Wolfe was killed.

Schaefer was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty. It wasn’t until evidence emerged near 17 years later that a judge ruled that Schaeffer deserved a new trial in 2006. Despite maintaining his innocence, Schaeffer wanted to leave prison after so many years there, so he agreed to plead “guilty” to a lesser charge (no-contest to third-degree murder) and was released from prison.

Schaeffer believes Barbara was killed because she knew the one responsible for Wolfe’s death.

Now a friend of Barbara’s family, Schaeffer actually never knew Barbara. Back in 1989, a phone call informed him that Barbara had evidence to clear his name for Wolfe’s murder.

“My girlfriend got a phone call on her answering machine saying that Barb Miller had proof that (I) didn’t do it and she was going to come forward and say (I was) innocent. Shortly after that, she went missing,” Schaeffer told WNEP in 2017.

Since then, Schaeffer has been working to solve the murder case and the mystery of why he was arrested for killing a man he had never met.

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