Suspect charged in woman's death 27 years ago - WSMV News 4

Suspect charged in woman's death 27 years ago

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John Edward Miller John Edward Miller
Betty Carol Thomas Betty Carol Thomas

A man currently incarcerated is now charged with first-degree murder in a 1986 cold case in that has remained unsolved until now.

John Edward Miller, 47, who was already in custody at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, TN, on unrelated charges, was served with the warrants Monday.

Betty Carol Thomas, 32, of Lexington, TN, received a phone call March 14, 1986, at her residence by an unidentified male who asked to meet her at Waugh's Pizza in Lexington, TN, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

According to family members, she left her home at 11:45 a.m. and was never seen.  Her family later discovered her car abandoned at Waugh's Pizza.

Three days later, the TBI, FBI and local police launched an investigation into Thomas' disappearance.

On Dec. 25, 1986, hunters found human skeletal remains in the Pine Lake state recreational area south of Lexington, which were positively identified as Thomas.  The findings revealed that Thomas died as a result of her throat being cut.

In January 2013, a witness called the Henderson County Sheriff's Department and provided a statement that John Edward Miller confessed to killing Thomas with a cutting instrument in March 1986 and placed her body near a "state lake."

In February 2013, another witness provided a statement to TBI agents recalling overhearing a telephone conversation that Miller made before Thomas' disappearance that detailed plans to kidnap Thomas. The relationship between Miller and Thomas remains unknown.

The TBI said they have exhumed Thomas' remains to obtain DNA and resubmitted evidence in the case for testing with more advanced technology.

Miller was charged with aggravated robbery in Carroll County in 1986 and received a 40-year sentence. He was out on bond for the robbery when Thomas went missing.

Miller was paroled in 1995 and was arrested in Illinois on robbery and burglary charges, which resulted in the revocation of his parole.

Miller was sent then back to Tennessee and has been incarcerated in the state since 2002.

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