King Range Manhunt Winds Down

Guest post by residents of the Petrolia area, John Williams and Kathy Radke who attended Wednesday’s meeting in Honeydew. LoCO thanks them for sharing their experiences.

Sheriff Mike Downey told a crowd at the Honeydew School this evening that the search for Shane Miller will soon wind down, although for another week or two, six or seven deputies will remain in the Mattole Valley to provide a rapid response if evidence emerges that Miller is still in the area. Lynda Roush of BLM announced that the King Range Conservation Area, including the Mattole Beach, will remain closed through May 30 unless Miller is found. 

Downey said that there have been no confirmed sightings of Miller since last Wednesday, and searches in the King Range have found no trace of him, although personnel from many agencies have been involved, and search tactics have ranged from stake-outs at the Smith-Etter and Big Flat cabins and other areas to which Miller might be attracted, to fine-scale searches in the area where Miller’s truck was found abandoned. Downey noted that Miller could be dead, could still be at large in the King Range, or could be elsewhere. Based on the negative results of the search, he thinks the second possibility is least likely. However, he noted that noted that area is large and rugged, that Miller is a skilled woodsman, and that he is good at avoiding arrest. Years ago he was charged with possessing a machine gun, and it took five years to bring him into custody. 

In response to questions, Downey reported that members of Miller’s family have been questioned, and there is no evidence that any are helping him. Many of his acquaintances have also been questioned, and have offered diverse opinions about where Miller might be or what he might do. His cell phone has not been detected since last Wednesday. Downey acknowledged that early in the search some searches of structures did not follow normal procedures, on account of the extraordinary circumstances. However, he emphasized that the search has been for Miller only; on several occasions deputies have turned their backs on evidence of non-violent felonies. 

In contrast to the Sunday meeting in Petrolia, the Honeydew meeting was relaxed and had somewhat the flavor of a political event. Besides Sheriff Downey, supervisors Rex Bohn and Estelle Fennell were present and spoke briefly, and thanks and praise were extended all around. 

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