Body of missing Minto man found 132 days after disappearance
GRAND FORKS -- Authorities have found the body they believe to be that of Guy Miller, the Minto, N.D., farmer who has been missing since his vehicle was washed away from a township road by floodwaters on April 29.
"We are not 100 percent sure. We have to go through the formalities, but it appears that we are done," Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild said Sunday. "The family can finally get some closure."
The discovery was made Saturday evening about a mile west of Minto, according to the sheriff, who officially was notified at about 9 p.m. He said someone attending a corn feed at a farm along the river walked over the bank and found the body.
"He was found in the river," Wild said. "The water's evidently gone down enough."
The body was taken to the Grand Forks County medical examiner's office Saturday night, according to the sheriff.
Authorities did not find any identification. The sheriff said they would check dental records to confirm the identity, which he said could be done by late Sunday or Monday.
"We're rejoicing," said Guy Miller sister, Kelly Schanilec, "It's relief. It's joy. I really have no words to describe the feeling."
Miller, 55, was driving a pickup along a gravel road west of Minto on April 29 when floodwaters washed the vehicle off the road, about two miles from the family farm.
Witnesses saw him on the truck and talked with him by phone, but could not reach him in the rushing water. After a friend left the scene to get help, Miller apparently was washed away.
The vehicle, which got hung up on a bank and was partially submerged in the coulee, since has been recovered. The coulee empties into the Forest River about a mile from Minto.
The body was found roughly a mile from the where the pick-up as recovered.
Several organized searches have occurred in the 132 days since the incident. Family members and friends also have combed the area on foot, on all-terrain vehicles and in canoes, looking for clues.
"This area has been searched twice," said David Gerzewski, fire chief of Minto Volunteer Fire Department.
A memorial service for Miller was conducted in Minto last week.
"This is the first time that all of his siblings have been here since we lost Guy," Schanilec said.
Miller is survived by a son, Gavin Guy Miller, Park River, N.D.; his parents, J.D. and Marlys Miller, Minto; and six siblings: Connie (Dan) Syrup, Grand Forks; Kelly (Brian) Schanilec, Forest River; John (Dawn) Miller Jr., Minto; Mary (Brian) Schuster, Minto; Anthony (Kimberly) Miller, Grand Forks; Katie (Gerard) Marino, Boston, Mass.
"It was a hopeless feeling, being so far away" Katie Marino said, "but I knew my family was doing everything they could. We talked about when would be the best time to come. We just felt it was time, so we booked the flight."
Once family members knew she was returning, they made arrangements for a memorial service. More than 500 people packed into Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Minto on Wednesday for the funeral.
"The support the community, even complete strangers, has given to my whole family has been wonderful. It gave us strength knowing we're not going through this alone," Marino said. "I'm at peace, just to be able to lay his body to rest. It's bittersweet, but it's so good -- providential."