Indiana woman missing since 1974 found living in Texas

PENDLETON, Ind. (WANE) A woman who went missing from her home in Laurel, Indiana in the 1970s now has a chance to connect with the daughter she left behind years ago.

On Thursday, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller, who went missing in 1974, was found living in a small town in south Texas.  According to Indiana State Police, she went missing at age 28, shortly after giving birth to her third child. Police said she signed her children over to her parents in Laurel, saying she felt she was too young to be a mother at the time.

Investigators began looking for Gillespie-Miller in 2014, after the Doe Network, a website that helps families with missing person investigations, contacted police.

Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis learned her family’s last contact with her came from a letter they received in 1975, postmarked in Richmond, Indiana.

That information led Jarvis to check with the Richmond Police Department Records Division, where he found they had a case of a deceased unidentified female found in 1975. A warrant obtained in December of 2014 allowed that body to be exhumed for DNA analysis.

Investigators then obtained a DNA sample from Gillespie-Miller’s biological daughter, Tammy Miller, for comparison.

The DNA sample was also entered into a national database for missing persons. However, no match was found.

Jarvis was waiting on DNA analysis on the exhumed unidentified body when the investigation led him in a different direction- to Texas.

Jarvis began to investigate the trail of a woman with similarities to Lula Gillespie-Miller. That led him to a woman who lived in Tennessee in the 1980s and then Texas.

On Thursday, Jarvis contacted Texas Rangers in the area and had them go to the home a woman living in south Texas since the 1990s, possibly still living under an alias.

The woman admitted she was, in fact, Lula Gillespie-Miller, now 69-years-old.

Police said that while she had no explanation to why she left her life behind in 1974, she did give consent for her contact information to be given to her daughter.

“Thanks to the hard work of Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis, this Easter weekend, Tammy Miller hopes to make contact with the mother she has never known,” Indiana State Police Spokesperson John Bowling said.

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