Lula Gillespie-Miller was 28 years old in 1974 when she disappeared. But Lula, an Indiana mother to three, was not kidnapped – she walked away from her children and started a new life under an alias. A forty-two year mystery was solved this week when Texas investigators tracked down the runaway mom, who admitted to being Gillespie-Miller.
Reports NBC News on March 25: “Lula Gillespie-Miller, now 69, admitted in an interview with the Texas Rangers that in 1974 she left her family in the town of Laurel and disappeared, the Indiana State Police said in a statement.” Police said Gillespie-Miller – who was living under a fictitious name that authorities did not release – would not be charged, since technically she did not commit any crimes.
Gillespie-Miller, who grew up in Laurel, Indiana, was married and remarried at least once while she was missing. She gave permission for police to let one of her daughters know she had been found.
“Thanks to the hard work of Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis, this Easter weekend, (Gillespie-Miller’s daughter) Tammy Miller hopes to make contact with the mother she has never known,” a statement read, adding that Lula felt she was “too young to be a mother at the time and signed her children over to her parents.”
The police statement added: “It could be everything from trying to escape some type of family situation they feel is impossible, to mental illness to crime. She might have been trying to protect her children for all we know.”
The family of Gillespie-Miller had not heard from her since a letter arrived back in 1975.
According to WCPO.com, the family was assisted by the Doe Network, an organization of volunteers who work to assist investigating agencies regarding cold cases of missing and unidentified persons. With little more than the 1975 letter – postmarked from Richmond, Indiana – Detective Jarvis in late 2014 was able to track down an unidentified female found in a Richmond cemetery, who had been buried since 1975.
After exhuming the body, a DNA test was run in order to compare the remains to an analysis provided by Gillespie-Miller’s daughter, Tammy Miller. While awaiting results, a new lead opened regarding a woman who had lived in Tennessee in the 1980s, and then later moved to Texas.
Last week, Texas Rangers knocked on her door. The 69-year-old Lula Gillespie-Miller was finally found, and her family is hoping to mend the relationship and spend time getting to know their mother.