Man at center of FBI artifacts raid dies

Man at center of FBI artifacts raid dies

Youth soccer jerseys fbi agents April 2, 2014, removed “thousands” of cultural artifacts, including American Indian items, from the private collection of a 91 year old Rush County man, Don Miller, who had acquired them over the past eight decades. His property is in rural Waldron, about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis. Brent Drinkut/The StarIn 1998, Don Miller has this rifle displayed in the basement of his rural Waldron, Ind, property. He claims it is an American Indian rifle used at Little Big Horn during Army Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s famous last stand in June 1876 against the

the Sioux and Cheyenne. Rob Goebel/The Star 1998 fileThe Rush County adventurer at the center of an FBI inquiry has died.

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The FBI set up a command vehicle and several tents at the home of Don Miller in the South 8300 block of Rush County Road 850 West near Moscow, Ind, to remove artifacts, on New Soccer Cleats April 2, 2014.(Photo: The Star file photo)Buy Photo

WALDRON Don Miller, the son of a Rush County farm family who developed a lifelong adventurous streak, will be remembered for many things.

Others will note his philanthropy, youth soccer jerseys demonstrated during numerous trips to Haiti and work as a financier on local development projects.

But many more in Indiana and perhaps the country, or even the world will youth soccer jerseys remember him for his artifacts. After all, it was Miller’s antiquities collection, nearly unfathomable in size, that catapulted him to notoriety and created the controversy that would dog him through the last year of his life.

Miller, 91, died Sunday, nearly a year after federal agents surrounded his rural Rush County home and began removing thousands of exotic artifacts as television helicopters hovered overhead. Officials at the time cited a desire to catalog the pieces and return them to their countries of origin.

News reports in the aftermath of the government seizure were awash with tales from those who had seen his collection, which reportedly included Aztec figurines, Ming Dynasty jade and an Egyptian sarcophagus.

Miller never faced any charges related to his collection. No lawsuits were filed against him in the year since the seizure. In his final months, townsfolk told The Indianapolis Star he had disappeared from public life.

And even after his death, progress of the federal investigation remains shrouded in mystery. FBI Special Agent Drew Northern declined to comment about the case Tuesday night. Officials from the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis anthropology department, which is assisting the FBI in identifying and preserving the artifacts, also would not comment.

But a legal expert told The Star it could take years, if not decades, before experts can sort out the legalities of the thousands of objects seized by the government.

“Even just figuring out which ones are illegally possessed in the United States is an enormous task when he’s purchased them over so many years, so you can see why this is such a difficult problem to solve, said David B. Smith, a Virginia based attorney with a background in asset forfeiture.

“Without his help, it’s just going to be enormously difficult to figure out which ones he legitimately purchased, which are legal and which ones aren’t, Smith said. “It’s a huge problem,

Man of mystery

Though Miller enchanted friends and co workers with tales of his amateur archeology and worldwide exploits, his interests had humble beginnings.

In a 1998 interview with The Star, Miller said he searched for arrowheads on his family’s farm as a boy. After college, he joined the Army Reserve, where he said he was stationed in New Mexico and assigned to work on the Manhattan Project the top secret research team that developed the first atomic bomb.

“It was almost like he was telling a movie, said Elizabeth Dykes, a former reporter who lives in Richmond, in an interview with The Star last year. Dykes profiled Miller for several stories published in the Rushville Republican.

“And you could see Harry Truman sitting there saying, ‘Oh, just drop the damn thing.’ ”

Brownsburg resident Rick Bolt, 61, recalled working with Miller at the Naval Avionics Center in Indianapolis during the 1970s and 1980s. New Soccer Cleats Bolt, who was fresh out of college when he met Miller, a senior consultant, described him as a friend and mentor.

Bolt said Miller spent his vacation days in far off locales, and would return from overseas with hair raising tales of youth soccer jerseys capture by Libyan military units and a stay with his wife in a Mexican jail youth soccer jerseys New Soccer Cleats.