PENDLETON, Ind. (March 24, 2016)– A woman was reported missing from her Laurel, Indiana home was found living in a small town in south Texas under an alias.
According to state police, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller, then 28, felt she was too young to be a mother shortly after giving birth to her third child in 1974, and signed her children over to her parents.
She then left home, never to be seen again by her family.
Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis took the case in January 2014 after the Doe Network, a website that assists families with missing persons investigations, contacted ISP at the Pendleton Post.
The site claimed they had been in contact with Gillespie-Miller’s family. The family had told the site the last contact they had with her was a letter they received from her, postmarked in Richmond, Indiana from 1975.
Detective Jarvis checked with the Richmond Police Department Records Division and found they had a case of a deceased unidentified woman found in 1975.
The woman was buried in an unmarked grave in the Earlham Cemetery in Richmond.
A search warrant was obtained in December 2014, and a body was exhumed from an unmarked grave for DNA analysis. A DNA sample was also obtained from Lula Gillespie-Miller’s biological daughter, Tammy Miller, for comparison.
The DNA sample from Tammy Miller was checked with the national database for missing persons. No match was found.
Detective Jarvis investigated the trail of a woman with similarities to Gillespie-Miller, who had lived in Tennessee in the 1980’s, then later in Texas.
The investigation led him to a woman living in a small town in south Texas since the 1990s.
Thursday, Jarvis contacted Texas Rangers in the area and had them go to the woman’s home. She admitted to the Rangers that her name is actually Lula Gillespie-Miller, now 69 years old, and said she is originally from Laurel, Indiana.
Gillespie-Miller did not commit any crime by leaving her home in 1974. Her alias will not be released out of respect for her privacy.
She allowed Jarvis to provide her contact information to her daughter. This Easter weekend, the daughter hopes to make contact with the mother she has never known.