Man calls on community to save struggling Texas Equusearch
HOUSTON -- We have seen them at many scenes along the years, helping search for those lost in our area. But now, Texas Equusearch is unsure of its future. And that's not sitting right with one man. He's putting out a call to the community for its help, and says he'll put his money where his passion is.
Texas Equusearch was born out of a dark time in the life of its founder, Tim Miller, more than a decade ago.
"My own daughter disappeared," Miller said. "Police said she was a runaway. We could get no help. And 17 months later, her body was found."
The all-volunteer group was created in 2000. They've performed searches in 38 states and six countries, locating 161 deceased victims. They've even taken high-profile cases like Natalie Holloway in Aruba and Caylee Anthony in Florida.
The non-profit began hurting financially, though, at the height of its popularity.
"When the economy went south, of course our donations went down, and unfortunately, our calls went up," Miller said.
Then came more financial blows. A longtime friend and volunteer was arrested for allegedly embezzling more than $4,000. In the same week, their vehicle, trailer, two ATVs and search equipment were stolen from a restaurant parking lot.
Now at least one man is pushing for Texas Equusearch to keep its doors open.
Randy Hartley, whose admiration for the group's volunteer work grew through news coverage, donated $3,000. He'd never met Miller until now.
"To me that is the most wonderful thing you guys could do, is to help poor, unfortunate people out, helping them find their loved ones that are missing," Hartley said.
Millers says the donations will help him keep a promise he made long ago during a tearful time.
"I just remember every minute of them 17 months. And when Laura's body was found, I really remember taking a sigh of relief, that at least I know -- not what I wanted to know, at all. And I just made a promise to God and Laura, I would never leave a family alone if there was anything we could ever do," Miller said.
Hartley says if his original donation of $3,000 is matched, he'll donate another $3,000.
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