Family searching for answers
Son’s death remains a mystery decades after police raid in New Waterford
Another twist has been added to the heart-breaking story of a Nova Scotia teen who died 27 years ago.
This time it’s a revelation from lawyers trying to help the family of Clayton Miller find out what really happened in the days before his body was found near New Waterford.
Miller was wearing a bright red sweater when he was found face down in an ankle-deep stream on May 6, 1990, roughly 36 hours after police raided a nearby bush party in an area known locally as “The Nest.”
At a news conference on Monday, Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner played a video recording of an interview he conducted a few months ago with Bryan McDonald, who co-ordinated the search for Miller the day after the party.
In the video, McDonald said his team had searched the area where Miller’s body was later discovered — but their initial search turned up nothing.
He said if there was a body in the brook, his team would have found it.
“There was no way we could miss anything,” said McDonald, who Wagner said was unable to attend the news conference because of poor health. “There was nothing there.”
Wagner said McDonald wanted to reach out to the Miller family to ensure his story was on the record.
Miller’s family has raised questions over the years about the circumstances surrounding the teen’s death, saying they believe key information was withheld from the public.
Maureen Miller, the teen’s mother, said the fact searchers did not see the body backs up the family’s theory that his body was placed in the brook.
“We knew of other people that were down there looking for money or liquor or whatever, and there was no body, and nobody wants to do anything about it. They want to cover it up,” she said after the news conference.
“How did he get in the brook? He can’t do it on his own. Someone put him there.”
Lawyer Kate Boyle also read several statements from New Waterford residents who all said they were in the area the day after the bush party and did not see Miller’s body.
Two separate investigations, conducted by Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner and the province’s independent police watchdog, concluded in 2015 that the 17-year-old was drunk when he fell into the stream while trying to run from police.
The reports echoed a series of earlier investigations, all of which concluded Miller’s death was an accident. The New Waterford police department was cleared of any wrongdoing.
On Monday, the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team said at the time of their investigation, there was no information that any organized search of the area was conducted.
He said the unit was not informed about the new information collected by Wagner’s firm prior to the news conference. The team said it would examine the information to determine what, if any, impact it would have on prior conclusions.
But the unit said the new information, “does not challenge the conclusions reached that Clayton Miller did not suffer any injuries that caused his death.”
Wagner said Monday’s news conference was the first of three planned events designed to draw attention to the case.
Gervase and Maureen Miller are shown at a walk in New Waterford where they demanded answers about death of their teenage son Clayton, who died following a police raid on a teen drinking party in 1990.