Jaimee Lee Miller disappeared around Thanksgiving more than five years ago
By Canadian Press
By Canadian Press
March 17, 2021 – The stones have all been overturned, often several times, new technological developments are regularly applied and everyone who would talk has been questioned, but as the five-year anniversary of the discovery of her remains approaches, Jamiee Lee Miller’s killing remains unsolved.
The 30-year-old mother of three was driving a minivan and living a happy family life in Angus when her drug dependence took her to the streets of Barrie.
Within a year, in the fall of 2015, she went missing.
And although her dad would like to see closure, he’s willing to be patient to ensure when there are charges, they’ll stick right through prosecution. Yet, he’s uncomfortable that a killer is still lurking and perhaps posing a risk to others.
“In my heart, I believe it’s more than just about her,” said Jeff Miller. “You don’t kill somebody and just walk away and disappear.”
Police say Jaimee had a vast network with many friends in the city’s Dunlop Street area. But on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 12 all contact ended and she was never heard from again.
On Nov. 2, 2015, her mom reported her missing to Barrie police.
Early the next spring, shortly after noon on March 16—exactly five years ago today—someone walking a dog along a trail north of Midhurst discovered a body.
Investigators confirmed the worst—the remains were that of the missing woman. And they determined foul play was involved.
Police immediately concentrated their efforts on that wooded area in the Simcoe County Forest, east of Gill Road, south of Hillview Crescent in Springwater Township for several days and canvassed the area.
The following October, a $50,000 reward was offered for information, but the case remains unsolved.
“We’ve used every technique available to us under Canadian law to find out what happened,” said OPP Det.-Const Tony Markic, who now leads the case. “We’ve exhausted, at this point, every avenue.”
The file remains open and continues to be active.
Perhaps, Markic muses, that one tip that will make the difference will come in. Or someone who wouldn’t talk previously will finally help the family get closure.
Jamiee had many contacts in her life on the streets of Barrie—friends and strangers.
Hundreds of interviews have been conducted, some were “interviewed exhaustively” as persons of interest at the time and had to be systematically eliminated.
But her life on the streets and the substance-abuse problems made finding out what happened to her that much more difficult, said the detective. Not everyone who could, would talk.
“Jamiee lived a real high-risk lifestyle and the people she associated with also lived that type of lifestyle, so trying to elicit some sort of information or to get them to get witnesses or provide statements to us were very difficult at times,” forcing police to use certain techniques, although they didn’t result in arrest, said Markic.
In addition to using traditional investigative approaches, police have exploited newer technological techniques. There are still advances in how DNA is used and that’s played a role in the investigation, prompting detectives to use unspecified services in the United States.
Newer data extraction tools for cellphones led police to uncover Jamiee’s associations.
“We managed to basically track down her whereabouts and her contacts right down to the minutes before disappearing. It took time, but yes we were able to establish a very detailed timeline for her,” said Markic.
Police also took advantage of a series of videos called Simcoe County Case Files, created ore than three years ago now to bring attention to unsolved murders to talk to the killer directly.
“We were really trying to speak to the people involved through the camera to let them know this is never going to go away, we’re never going to stop investigating. Eventually, the truth will come out,” said the detective. “There will be a resolution at some point.”
Investigators review the evidence on a regular basis and go back to witnesses who were not co-operative back then. Some had addictions themselves and have since died as a result, exasperating the problem.
Markic won’t discuss a working theory on the motive, but said there are people that know what happened.
“Was she targetted? Quite possibly,” he said. “We don’t believe it to be a random killing.”
Miller had a complicated life. Only a year earlier, she was a married mom of three with a minivan and a job.
“She was just a typical mom—pushed a stroller, drove a minivan,” her husband said in the video made by police.
But the woman with the continuous smile since childhood struggled with her health, turning to self-medication as she struggled with addiction, living a high-risk lifestyle working and living on the streets of Barrie, and crashing where she could.
“We never really figured out what snapped in her. Obviously, it had to be drugs,” said her dad, adding the change was obvious in how she dressed, wore her makeup and the addition of tattoos.
“She just went a little too far,” Miller’s father added. “She was fighting demons.”
They still talked every couple of weeks, and she was still a mom who worshipped her kids.
On Oct. 2, she was making plans with her dad to bring the kids to Richmond Hill to see him and go home for a visit. And that’s the last time the two talked.
Police have said they’ve made progress in the case and it remains active. And despite interviewing more than 200 people, they say there are still some that refuse to share what they know.