MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC4 News) – Police launched a massive search Friday night after 62 year-old Mark Allen Miller was reported missing. Early Saturday morning his body was found.
The last known images of Miller were taken at a Granite Credit Union near 9th E, 3650 S around 8:45 p.m. Fifteen minutes later police would receive a call from Miller’s family and friends reporting him missing.
“What we know is that he left his home on foot wearing nothing but jeans, a t-shirt, and slippers,” said Det. Jared Richardson with Unified Police.
His disappearance concerned police for several reasons. Not only was he not dressed for single digit temperatures, Miller had a history of alcoholism and was going through withdrawal. Police also say he was injured.
“The day before we understand he had a head injury. We don’t know the extent of that. We do have information that that wound may have not been cleaned up,” said Richardson.
Police launched a massive search around 9th E, the location where he was last seen. They enlisted the help of several agencies including Murray Police, Salt Lake City Police, Utah Highway Patrol, and the Department of Public Safety’s helicopter to try and find him while braving ice cold temperatures.
They also asked neighbors in the area to look around their homes, garages, sheds to see if Miller may have snuck in to keep warm. Early this Saturday morning his body was found.
“We received a phone call from a family indicating that they had found a body in their backyard at about 3600 S. and Christine St.,” said Richardson.
Investigators believe an argument with roommates about borrowing a car is what led Miller to leave on foot.
“We’re not sure the whole context of this particular disagreement was and again in these weather conditions, even if it is on foot, even only 5 minutes in this kind of weather, start looking for them,” added Richardson.
Doctors say alcohol puts people at a greater risk for cold related injuries in this weather. Not only does it interfere with the body’s ability to stay warm. It also affects your body’s ability to recognize its exposure to the elements.
“Several effects from alcohol, one is impairing the individuals ability to make decisions in respect to their environment and protecting themselves. Alcohol can increase the individuals rate of heat loss and can speed up the process in terms of cold related injury,” says Dr. Eric Smart with Intermountain Healthcare.
Miller’s wet cell phone was discovered last night. Investigators were trying to extract information from the sim card to figure out what happened to him. They believed he died from exposure to the cold weather. They are working with the medical examiners office to determine the exact cause of death.
Miller was a medically retired police officer from California. Investigators do not know how long he had lived in Utah.