Thursday, March 26, 2015

Indiana's Real Indiana Jones Dies

Don Miller, the man at the center of national intrigue nearly a year ago when dozens of FBI agents descended on his home in Rush County supposedly for the purpose of seizing and examining an incredible collection of artifacts he collected during his well-traveled career has died at the age of 92 according to the Indianapolis Star. An electrical genius, Miller worked at times for NASA and the Russian government developing communications equipment for their space programs. The FBI's interest in Miller reportedly pertained to legal questions concerning some priceless antiquities among his vast collection, including Aztec, Egyptian and Ming Dynasty artifacts. As the Star notes, Miller was never charged with any crimes and no lawsuits were ever filed against him in the year following the raid on his home.
. . .  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." . . .
It is not known to what extent the FBI had spoken to Miller about his collection before his death. Miller's relatives could not be reached by phone Wednesday. Northern described the agency's investigation only as "ongoing."
But if the case goes to court, it's likely the law will not be on the side of Miller's estate, Smith said . . . 
Internet sleuths at the time suggested a far more nefarious reason for the raid, which coincided with the ongoing search for the missing MH370 Malaysian Airlines plane, which seemed to vanish without a trace. Miller supposedly invented technology to locate a transponder for a missing plane through triangulation even after the beacon had failed. The missing MH370 plane had among its passengers several engineers who helped develop cloaking technology to help aircraft evade radar detection. The Chinese employees on board the plane worked for Freescale Semiconductor, an Austin, Texas-based company. No remnants of the plane or the remains of its passengers have been found since it went missing more than a year ago.

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