Four months after a popular young man got into a scuffle on the George Street bar strip in St. John’s, he seems to have vanished.
Searchers say they’ve come up empty and have no fresh clues that might help them find 20-year-old Joshua Miller.
Friends have said they put him in a cab alone outside a George Street bar early on the morning of Feb. 8 after Miller was kicked in the head during a drunken fight.
Searchers repeatedly scoured backyards, sheds and a heavily wooded area of the east end of St. John’s where police say Miller was last seen.
“It’s unusual that we’ve found absolutely no evidence,” said
Sgt. Hubert Hall, search and rescue co-ordinator for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
Miller, who worked at a George Street bar and had a second job to pay his way through school, has a wide circle of friends who were out in all kinds of weather trying to find him.
Hall said an extensive ground search Feb. 10, the day Miller was reported missing, was followed the next day by a mounted unit that went over the area. A canine unit and a helicopter joined in Feb. 12 and there was another expanded ground search March 5, he said.
When the snow cleared, an even bigger search April 27 involved about 60 people, most of them volunteers from the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association and other regional groups, Hall said.
“There was no clues or evidentiary value that would assist in the investigation.”
Harry Blackmore, co-ordinator of the local Rovers Search and Rescue team, took part in all five efforts.
“We’ve checked every backyard, sheds, under different things that we could get at through all kinds of wooded areas, every kind of path that you could think of,” he said.
“We broadened our search into the heavy woods where rabbits got a job to run, but people went through it.”
The area where Miller was last seen has been “saturated” using a grid approach in which searchers walk closely together in lines, Blackmore said.
“We’ve exhausted every avenue that we can from the search and rescue part of it as to where he could have went. All we know is that he was dropped off on the street and we start from there.
“If we found a clue belonged to him, we would definitely do another search. But until something shows, I don’t think there will be any other searches done right now, anyway.”
A spokeswoman for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said the investigation continues, but there is no new information to report.
Peter Brushett, Miller’s boss at The Martini Bar on George Street, said friends and co-workers have kept in touch with police for any news.
“Josh was a good kid,” Brushett said. “I mean, he was working his way through school same as any other typical, young 20-year-old. And he was just a really good guy.”
Blackmore said his team has done all it can and is ready to head out again at the first request from investigators.
“We’ve dealt with the family ourselves as a search team,” he said of Miller’s closest supporters and loved ones. “And the family knows we’ve done everything we could do.”
Miller is described as about 6-1 and 185 pounds with blue eyes and short, sandy-coloured hair. Police say that at the time of his disappearance he was wearing jeans and a black T-shirt.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.