MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – More questions than answers remain two years after an FBI photographer from Madison County died while on vacation with her husband in North Carolina.
The investigation into Kathleen Miller’s death continues with few details being released from law enforcement. But her family is continuing to push for justice.
Kathleen Miller and her husband, Greg, took a trip together to the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, but only Greg walked out alive. Kathleen drowned in two feet of water.
It’s a story her sister, Vaughn Grace, struggles to understand.
“It doesn’t make sense that with all the experience Kathy had with water and water safety, she’d fall face-first into two feet of water and not be able to get herself up,” Vaughn Grace said. “He has changed the story that he has told repeatedly,” she added about Kathleen’s husband.
Kathleen’s family aren’t the only ones who have noticed that. Her autopsy results were also released in 2021. James Hyde, Graham County Medical Examiner, noted in the document:
“With the inconsistencies in the accounts surrounding the decedent’s death and autopsy findings and the depth of the water in which the decedent drowned the manner of death is best classified as homicide. “
Another report observed what were called ‘abnormal’ bruising on her back and scrapes on her face. A recent court filing points to Kathleen’s death certificate, which also lists her manner of death as homicide.
What happened in that shallow creek spawned a multi-agency investigation with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and other authorities.
But still, two years later, no suspects have been named and no charges filed.
Instead, a spokesperson for the FBI in North Carolina says the investigation is ongoing and they won’t provide any details to News 19. Once the investigation is completed, the FBI says, the findings will be turned over to the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina.
“It’s difficult for the entire family, but I would rather have them than to go in not fully prepared. It’s not like the time is going to bring Kathy back,” Grace said.
But Kathleen Miller’s family isn’t waiting for justice. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Madison County, Alabama, alleging Greg Miller intentionally and feloniously killed her. They are suing to limit Greg’s financial gain from bank accounts, life insurance policy and their house.
Mark McDaniel, a prominent Huntsville attorney who isn’t involved in the Miller case, says Alabama’s Slayer Statute is designed to prevent a person who killed someone from benefiting financially.
But Greg Miller hasn’t been charged with a crime.
McDaniel says depending on the evidence he could still be found guilty in a civil lawsuit.
“You can be found not guilty. You could even be not charged in a criminal case and be sued for wrongful death in a civil action because the burden of proof is less,” McDaniel said
Meanwhile, Kathleen’s family says they have no idea where Greg Miller is.
The home Kathleen owned in Owens Crossroads sits empty. Neighbors tell News 19 they don’t recall seeing Greg Miller in more than a year.
“He has abandoned my sister’s house,” Grace said.
Documents show Greg has survivorship rights to the home in the wake of Kathleen’s death, but her family says Greg isn’t paying the bills.
A red tag on the home’s meter shows utilities have been turned off due to nonpayment. Kathleen’s sister is dealing with the HOA and that’s not all…
“I went ahead and paid the mortgage to keep the house from going into foreclosure,” Grace said.
It’s been two years since Kathleen died. The investigation of her death is in limbo. Her family is still counting on law enforcement. But one way or another, Kathleen’s family is determined to see a price paid for her death.
Again, Kathleen Miller was an FBI photographer in Huntsville. The FBI here has referred our questions about her death to the FBI office in Charlotte. That office told News 19 they don’t know how much longer the investigation will take, or when it might be handed over to the US Attorneys Office.