“This is highly unusual to have this occur Like enough is enough. We are talking about our future here. We want this to be a safe place. Our children are going to grow up here. Do we want them to grow up in a situation like this where things like this happen. No absolutely not.”
Six Nations Acting deputy chief Darren Montour.
By Lynda Powless and Justin Lethbridge
SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER- Six Nations Police, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and local families made an emotional appeal to the public for information Thursday in the triple murder of three Six Nations people who were all close friends and one of whom was pregnant.
“Please anybody, tell me something,” an emotional Trevor Miller said to the media and community members that packed the Six Nations Social Services Gymnasium on Thursday morning. “This did not need to happen,” he said in appealing for information into the death of his sister Melissa, who was seven months pregnant.
Mr. Miller was part of the police press conference held on Thursday, November 15th, 2018 at the Six Nations Social Services gym on the
murders of three members of the Six Nations community. Holding a picture of his sister Melissa, he was so overcome by grief while giving his statement that he had to step out of the gymnasium. In the audience family members shed tears and were comforted by fellow family members and community members. The deaths have touched the community widely.
“This is an extremely unusual thing to happen at Six Nations,” Acting Deputy Chief Darren Monture said. “This is not the kind of community we are. I’m from here I grew up here. These are my people. This is my home. When something like this happens it hits hard. It hits families. It hits friends. It hits our officers. It hits so hard. It’s a close knit home. We are all one people,” he said.
OPP Detective Inspector Pete Liptrott urged anyone with information to call the OPP/Six Nations tip line. “I would ask that anyone out there in the public, in the communities, call our tip lines if they any information about these tragic deaths.”
The bodies of Melissa Trudy Miller, 37, Alan Grant Porter, 33, and 32-year-old Michael Shane Jamieson were found in a grey pickup truck in a field on private property near Bodkin Road in the Municipality of Middlesex Centre on Sunday November 4th, 2018 after police were alerted to the presence of a grey pickup truck in the area. The truck in question is a 2006 Chevy Silverado which was stolen and recovered near the bodies. Police are asking anyone who may have seen this truck on the Six Nations or in the area of Bodkin Road in early November to come forward.
Detective Investigator Peter Liptrott of the OPP, Acting Deputy Chief Darren Montour of the Six Nations Police Service and Councillor Sherri-Lyn Hill Pierce from the Six Nations Elected Council appealed for information. They all expressed their condolences on the loss of these community members.
“These are community members, not just a news story.” Councillor Hill stressed during her statement. “The safety and wellness of our community makes this investigation (Band Council’s) top priority.”
Jock Hill, who was representing the Porter and Jamieson families, also gave a statement during the press conference.
“We deserve justice and respect,” he told those in attendance before asking for the community’s help. “There’s somebody out there who knows. We’re looking for justice, this is not right. Not sharing information is not right.”
During the press conference it was revealed by Acting Deputy Chief Montour that Melissa Miller was seven months pregnant. The fact of her pregnancy was revealed publicly at the family’s persistence according to Inspector Liptrott who is the Major Case Manager with the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch.
The OPP and Six Nations Police would not comment on the condition of the bodies, the cause or the time of death. While it has been reported that Melissa died on November 2nd, the OPP reiterated that they did not release any information regarding the time of death. They were also not at liberty to provide information on the specific location of the bodies or where they might have been killed as they did not want to compromise the ongoing investigation.
While they would not speak to whether the three were considered missing prior to November 4th, Acting Deputy Chief Darren Montour did confirm that they received a call from Melissa’s mother regarding her disappearance on November 5th. He also stressed that police believe there is no risk to public safety.
“We want this to be a safe place now and for our kids. We need people to come forward with any information,” Acting Deputy Chief Montour told reporters following the press conference. The sentiment was echoed by the OPP.
“We’re asking all community members for assistance.” Detective Liptrott said during his statement. “We are confident that people have information regarding this crime. Any information however small may assist in this investigation.”
Despite the similarities to the 2017 murder of Douglas Hill, and his relationship to Miller, the OPP are regarding this as a separate incident. Douglas Hill, 48, went missing in June of 2017. Police launched a massive man hunt for Hill across Six Nations. His body was found in August of 2017 only a few kilometres away from where the latest bodies were discovered. The OPP would not speak to any significance the area may hold in relation to the crimes.
Six Nations Police Acting Deputy Chief Montour confirmed OPP presence on 7th Line and Highway 54 in the past week were evidence searches related to this investigation. He said the investigations were the direct result of information sent to the police tip line. He would not say what they were looking for.
He said local residents will be seeing a heavy OPP presence on Six Nations for the foreseeable future as they continue to investigate the murders. He said OPP will be in plain clothes, uniforms and will be in the community.
He said this is an “extremely unusual incident to happen at Six Nations. This is not the kind of community we are.
“I’m from here I grew up here these are my people. This is my home when something like this happens it hits hard. It hits families. It hits so hard. It’s a close knit home. We are all one people.”
Police would not comment on the search of the cornfield and charges against Six Nations man Nick Joel Shipman who was charged last week with auto theft in Middleport. Shipman had been charged as an accessory after the fact to murder in the Douglas Hill death. Charges against him and others charged in Hill’s death were dropped last month.
Acting Deputy Chief Montour said the press conference was held at Six Nations because police believe Six Nations is the “best place to get information from. “This has had an effect on our people. We wanted the press conference here because we felt it best because they are from here this is the best place to get information. You have seen the reaction of the family, the community, the police officers. It has taken a toll one everyone. We want people to see the toll this is having on the community.”
He said fear may not be the reason people are not coming forward. “I don’t know if it’s fear, but there is reluctance to come forward. Its historical with outside police agencies coming in here. We, as Six Nations Police, need to build the trust. And that’s why we held this here we want to build the trust for people to come forward.”
He said police have received calls from community members fearful that a killer is loose in the community. “We have had calls that there is fear among our people that there is a killer loose. I can reassure the community we are doing our best to bring those responsible, to arrest them, and bring them to justice and I can reassure the community that it is being diligently done. We don’t believe there is a public safety risk.”
He said the killings are out of the norm for Six Nations.
“This is highly unusual to have this occur. Like enough is enough. We are talking about our future here. We want this to be a safe place. Our children are going to grow up here. Do we want them to grow up in a situation like this where things like this happen? No absolutely not.”
While the OPP and Six Nations Police said they are continuing to follow up on all tips they’ve received they stressed the need for anyone with information to come forward.
“Anyone with information about the victims or their activities leading up to their deaths and the discovery of their bodies please contact the toll-free tip-line at 1-844-677-5050, the Six Nations Police Service at 519-445-2811 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).”
Anyone wishing to assist in the investigation is reminded they may do so anonymously via Crime Stoppers and can receive up to $2000 as a reward if the tip leads to an arrest.