When a person goes missing, often times they leave a trail. In some cases that person is found alive. Other times, a body can give clues to how a victim died.
Then there are cases like Mark Miller, the Rockford man gone missing three years ago without a trace.
"There comes a time in every investigation where you exhaust every possibility," said Detective Sgt. John Eauclaire, of the Rockford PD.
As leads are exhausted and the path that detectives and investigators take to solving a case becomes even wider, they don't prefer to say that the case has gone cold. Rather, as fresher cases come in, older one's drop on the priority list.
"We don't close out a missing person until we have some definitive information one way or the other on what has happened to him or if somebody gets located," said Euclaire.
Such is the case, of Mark Miller.
"You know that Mark Miller is some... everybody that comes up missing is somebody's family member," said Eauclaire.
"It's like somebody threw a switch and he just disappeared," said Tom Miller.
Tom Miller is Mark's older brother. For three years, he's searched for his missing sibling and for three years he's lived not knowing the fate of his brother.
March 12, 2009 was when Mark was last seen by a friend. Three days later he was reported missing.
"Went to work the following morning, clocked out of work that day, and has been missing ever since," recalls Tom.
Mark's case remains open to this day, nearly three years later. Currently, Rockford police work with Illinois State Police, hoping that a fresh set of eyes can bring to life new clues.
"We continue to follow up on leads although this case is over three years old," explained Eauclaire.
Mark and his twin brother are the youngest of 5 brothers. Tom speaks for the rest of his siblings as he explains their expectations of finding Mark alive.
"There's always a minute chance. And I think that's... when you look at the logical side of it, that's what makes the emotional side so hard, because the logical part of you says he's probably not alive anymore but that emotional side of you wants to hold on to the hope that maybe he is."
The last time Tom and Mark spoke was just days before he was reported missing and says something didn't seem right.
"He seemed hurried and preoccupied when I talked to him. When I had called him, he was at work and wasn't able to talk and that wasn't uncommon for him to not be able to talk while he was at work so I didn't think a lot of it. Of course looking back now I wish I would've delved into it a little more."
According to Tom, Mark had asked his roommate at the Windsor apartment that he lived in to move out in the days leading up to his disappearance.
Tom says that an important item to Mark, his briefcase containing personal information is missing as well.
"With his living situation, he didn't feel comfortable leaving some of his personal belongings in the apartment so he would... he tended to keep that briefcase with him all the time," described Tom.
Tom believes that the case is in the same place that it was three years ago. He says the longer it runs on. The less confident he is that his family will have closure.
"Part of me does, but part of me doesn't. As you get involved with something like this, of course, you never think it's something you'll be involved with but as you look into some of the cold cases that are out there. Some of the older ones, there's a lot of them that have been solved but there are thousands that aren't. And just by sheer numbers the odds aren't good."
If you have any information on Mark Miller's whereabouts contact Rockford Police or call Crimestoppers.
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