Body of Guy Miller recovered Saturday
RURAL MINTO – A saga that has played out for more than four months came to a close over the weekend as the body of Gregory “Guy” Miller, 55 of Minto, was discovered in the Forest River approximately one mile southwest of Minto.
The discovery of Miller’s body brings closure to the tragedy that has consumed the family since late April.
Miller first went missing on April 29, when the truck he was driving was swept away by floodwaters on a township road west of Minto.
Where Miller first went missing is just over three winding river miles away from where his body was finally discovered Saturday.
In the four-plus months since, several official and private searches have taken place with no evidence found. On several occasions, searchers passed very close to where the body was found, but the water level was much higher.
Because of drought conditions this summer, the level in the Forest River is down considerably and the lowest it’s been in a long time.
The discovery came just three days after a memorial service was held for Miller at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Minto. According to Miller’s sister Kelly Schanilec the discovery was not a coincidence.
“We believe it was providential,” she said. “Guy had a great devotion to St. Anthony, he’s the patron saint of lost articles.”
Schanilec said the more than 500 people who attended the memorial service last Wednesday prayed to St. Anthony, led by Fr. Joseph Christensen.
“In the middle of the prayer Father stopped and the intention was to find Guy, for his soul and for our family. And three days later Guy was found,” Shanilec said.
Miller’s sister Katie Marino of Boston, Mass., was in Minto for the first time since her brother went missing. She said it was difficult being so far away.
“It was a very helpless feeling. I would pace the floor sometimes and not be able to get off my mind all the searching that was going on,” she said. “I felt maybe my job was to pray and that’s all I could really do.”
One week after the memorial service, Miller will be laid to rest following a Mass of Christian Burial service in Minto.
“It’s still going to be hard, but we’re going to have proper closure,” Shanilec said.
According to Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild, he received a call about 9 p.m. Saturday that a body had been discovered in the Forest River.
According to Wild, a corn feed was in progress on the Nathan and Jamie Medbury Farm, located near the Forest River Saturday evening, when one of the guests saw what looked like denim material floating in the water.
Once the gathering dispersed, the body was removed from the water by members of the Minto Volunteer Fire Department and the body was transported to the medical examiner’s office in Grand Forks to be identified.
Surprisingly, Wild said the body was intact despite severe decomposition and the clothing on the body was consistent with what Miller was wearing when he went missing.
“It’s a surprise, but a good surprise,” Wild said. “We didn’t think we’d find much. Water generally has a tendency to take clothes off a body in that scenario.”
Miller’s dental records were delivered to the medical examiners office in Grands Forks Sunday for a positive identification.
The theory is that Miller’s body was covered with a thick layer of silt after his body came to rest which helped slow down decomposition due to a lack of oxygen.
Schanilec believes it’s a miracle that a body was found and she’s grateful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers and for those who spent countless hours searching.
“The whole state of North Dakota knew this story and many outside the state,” she said. “This wasn’t just our family and friends. There were so many prayers out there. This whole miracle was caused by everybody praying.”
Miller is survived by his son Gavin Guy Miller of Park River, his parents, J.D. and Marlys Miller of Minto and four sisters and two brothers.
A Mass of Christian Burial service for Miller was scheduled for today (Wednesday) at 3 p.m., at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Minto.