rules Donald Miller, 61, still dead. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons/Fayerollinson
It's not every day that a court gets to see a dead man walk up to a judge and demand that he be recognized as, well, alive. In the case of Donald Miller that's exactly what happened. The 61-year-old had been proclaimed dead since 1994 following a disappearance from his Arcadia rental home. Apparently, Mr Miller lost his job sometime before 1990 and as an alcoholic had nowhere to go and "had nothing left."
He then left Hancock County and was not heard from for the years after. A fact which prompted his wife, Robin Miller, to file for a death ruling in order to collect his Social Security death benefits for their children as he had also left behind $25,000 in child support.
Mr Miller spoke about what soon followed after his departure; a string of odd jobs from Atlanta to Marathon, Florida and not very much else. He explained that upon coming back to Ohio in 2005, he learned from his parents that he had been long thought of as dead-- by both his family and the law. Mr Miller stated that he would like to have his life back again in the strict sense that he needed his social security number and driver's license reinstated. However, Ms Miller contested his plea as she did not have the money to pay back the money that she had received from Social Security.
Judge Allan Davis, the presiding judge of both this present case as well as Mr Miller's declaration of death, said that he had never seen a case like this in all of his 40 years of serving the county. Nevertheless, he ruled in favor of Ms Miller as the statute of limitations on a death pronouncement only lasts three years. "In over 40 years, I've never come across a case like this," the judge said to CNN. "In the end though, because of the statute, it was a pretty open-and-shut case."
Mr Miller is free to take his case to federal court in order to challenge the Social Security Administration but as his lawyer Francis Marley had made clear, he doesn't have any money to do so. As far as the law is concerned, Mr Miller is the real walking dead.
To contact the editor, e-mail: