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No Further Investigation Needed in Miller Case


On April 16, 2015 SiRT released a comprehensive report regarding the death of Clayton Miller. Mr. Miller, then 17 years old, died on the evening of May 4, 1990, in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Since that date his parents, Maureen and Gervais Miller, (the Millers) along with some supporters, have continued to claim that members of the New Waterford Police killed their son.

SiRT’s report reviewed 25 years of information, and concluded that Mr. Miller was not beaten or killed by anyone, but rather died from hypothermia. At no time was there ever any evidence to suggest Mr. Miller suffered any injuries that caused death, nor was there any evidence to show he had any interaction with any police officer. That report can be found at

On July 10, 2017, the Millers, along with their legal counsel, released an interview from a male which suggested he was a member of the Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue Team in 1990. He says that on May 5, 1990, he was involved in an organized search for Mr. Miller along the brook in the “Nest” area of New Waterford. He indicated this involved between 12 and 20 members of the team, that it was requested by the New Waterford Police, that records were kept of the search, and that Mr. Miller’s body was not in the brook where it was later found on May 6, 1990. He also said the search started around 4:30 p.m., took 3 or 4 hours, and ended just before dark.

SiRT has reviewed this information to determine if it raises anything that justifies a re-opening of SiRT’s investigation. SiRT has concluded that the information released, when compared to known facts, is not reliable, and that there was no such search conducted as claimed. SiRT notes the following:

  1. The information suggests that police would have directed a search for Mr. Miller in the brook that ran through the “Nest”, which is why Search and Rescue searched there. However, in sworn testimony given by Maureen and Gervais Miller at the Fatality Inquiry held about Mr. Miller’s death in September 1990, both were asked if they had information or knowledge their son had been at the Nest prior to his discovery on May 6, 1990. They both indicated they did not.  In addition, it is clear from their evidence they did not suggest to the police that is where their son was. The police had no information to suggest that Mr. Miller might be found at the Nest or in the brook. Thus, they could not have requested that such a search take place.


  1. After time spent gathering and organizing, the search by 12 to 20 people was said to take place from about 4:30 p.m. to dark. Again, the 1990 Inquiry evidence confirms that while the Millers indicated they made contacts with police during the day, they only asked police to keep an eye out for their son or if they had seen him.  The first record of a call police had was after 6 p.m.  The officer who received and made the record of the call has told SiRT that he did not call for a search to be done and that he had no information about where Mr. Miller might be. In addition, it is not possible for the Search and Rescue Team to have been called prior to after 6 p.m. in any event. Search and Rescue did not get a call from New Waterford police on May 5, 1990.


  1. The death of Mr. Miller has been a highly-publicized matter since 1990. This included the issue of whether he was in the brook on May 5, 1990. No other person from the Search and Rescue team ever came forward during that time, or since this July, to support the idea a search occurred. Nor has anyone else, including the Millers, spoken of such a search over that time.


  1. The Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization, which keeps records of search and rescue operations in Nova Scotia, including 1990, has no record of such a search on May 5, 1990.


  1. SiRT spoke with a person who was responsible for the records of the Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue Team. No records were located to confirm a search was conducted on May 5,1990 in relation to Mr. Miler.  


  1. Several people were in the area of the Nest on May 5, 1990, and were referred to in SiRT’s previous investigation. This included a police officer. None ever saw any search being conducted.


The individual that was interviewed and provided this information to the Millers is known to SiRT to be elderly and unwell. As a result, SiRT determined an attempt to interview him would be contrary to the public interest. The known evidence shows he is mistaken about his recollection. SiRT is unable to explain his comments. Whether he has confused this date with another search (there was a search on May 28, 1990 for an 84-year-old male with the same last name, but different first name) or his evidence is the result of influence from others, is a matter SiRT is unable to determine.

As a result of the determination that there is no evidence to suggest a formal or informal search for Mr. Miller occurred on May 5, 1990 at the Nest there is no reason to consider any further investigation into this matter.

SiRT reminds the public of its previous conclusions:

“Clayton Miller was not beaten or killed by anyone. The doctors of the day said that at the time.

Two well respected forensic pathologists repeated those conclusions in 1994. Dr. Bowes repeats

those opinions, and confirms death by hypothermia based on newly understood science. The

evidence does not support any other suggestions about his cause of death.


SiRT has examined the facts of this matter thoroughly. We have looked behind rumours and

speculation for evidence, and what can be proven. We are convinced, that there is absolutely no

evidence that any police officer caused Clayton Miller’s death. Rather, the evidence proves his

death was caused by the unfortunate mixture of youth and alcohol.


Clayton Miller’s death was a tragedy, and one which has affected his family deeply. That is

understandable. While there is nothing this report can do to change that, what it can do is assure

the public that as an independent body, with no allegiance to anything other than the truth, we

have determined that Clayton Miller’s death was an accident. There are absolutely no grounds to

consider any charges against any police officer.”


Media Contact:

Ron MacDonald, QC