Mysterious Phone Call May Have Ties to Cold Case Investigation

MILTON -- Investigators are searching a home on North Front Street in Milton for the body of a woman who went missing 28 years ago.

Police got a tip that Barbara Miller’s body may be entombed in concrete in the basement.

"We have looked in so many places only to find out she's buried less than two miles from here,” said family member Lynne Miller.

Miller disappeared in July of 1989. The 30-year-old woman's body was never found. She was declared dead in 2002 and the case is being treated as a homicide.

According to a search warrant, the prime suspect in her killing is her ex-boyfriend, former Sunbury police detective Joseph “Mike” Egan.

The house under investigation in Milton once belonged to Egan's sister.

"That was the rumor nine years ago that people had called and said he had a construction site there. We're talking about Mike Egan. It's public knowledge now, that he had put her in concrete in Milton. We didn't know which house until recently. They got a phone call and got an address, “said Scott Schaeffer of Northumberland.

Scott Schaeffer is a friend of Miller's family and has a unique connection. He never knew Barbara Miller, but in 1990, he was convicted of the first-degree murder of a man named Ricky Wolfe, a so-called "drug thug killing."

Schaeffer served 17 years behind bars, only to get a new trial in 2006. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case although he says he didn't do it. He was released from prison.

Schaeffer's connection to Miller is a mysterious phone call back in 1989. Someone called him to say Miller had evidence to clear his name.

"My girlfriend got a phone call on her answering machine saying that Barb Miller had proof that (I) didn't do it and she was going to come forward and say (I was) innocent. Shortly after that, she went missing."

Since then, Schaeffer has been working to find Miller's body and her killer, trying to piece together why he was arrested for killing a man he says he never even met.

He's written a book about his case, and he's grateful to Sunbury Police Chief Tim Miller for reopening this case. Chief Miller is no relation to Barbara Miller.

"I've met a lot of bad people in this life who told me they were going to do good things. He's one of the few people I think are going to do great things. Finding her is going to be enough evidence to put people behind bars, but then I want people to talk. I want to know who actually killed Ricky Wolfe."

Barbara Miller's son Eddie was 14 when his mother disappeared. Family members say he is trying to process this new development, too.

"I made a promise to him that we would find out what happened to his mother. Now at the age of 43, he's going to have answers,” said Lynne Miller.

Scott Schaeffer and Barbara Miller's family and friends say they know finding her body is just the first step. They want those responsible brought to justice.

The digging concluded for the evening, but officials say the search is not over. Because of some structural issues, it has been a very slow process. Police say they are not giving up.

"We have not found any bodies yet, but I can tell you we feel pretty good if we continue doing what we're doing, if we continue to work methodically, we believe we will find what we're looking for," said Sunbury Police Chief Tim Miller.

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