Kidnapping victim’s family speaks out for the first time
When Zachary Miller was 10 years old he was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by one of Canada’s most notorious pedophiles, Peter Whitmore. 16×9 had an opportunity to spend time at the Miller family farm in Whitewood, Sask. learning about what transpired during the days their son was kidnapped.
This is the first time Miller, who is now 20, and his parents have publicly told their story. It wasn’t an easy decision. Here’s why, in their own words, they decided to speak out:
16×9: Why are you talking to us about it?
Zachary Miller: Because I want to make a difference. There’s missing kids out there. You’ve gotta be strong for them because monsters like him are everywhere.
16×9: But if it’s true that when people find out about this, they treat you differently or they stop talking to you or they remove themselves from your company, doesn’t speaking out about this run the risk of adding to that?
ZM: It might. It might not, but it raises aware[ness]. No one’s exempt from this, not the poorest person, not the richest person in the world. Sometimes you just gotta show that your side of the story … you’re just a regular person trying to live your life after what happened.
READ MORE: Following the path of a sexual offender
Lyle Miller, Zachary’s father: If this family doesn’t step up to the plate and share their story to try and make a difference than all we’ve done is hand him off to the next family, the next child. And we’ve lived it. We don’t want anyone else to live this. The family unit has been crushed. You’ve been ground right out and you’ve aired this out in public. But you have to find a place to heal.
16×9: You have lobbied. You’ve been an advocate. You have been a real voice on this. You have met with justice ministers federally.
LM: Yes, I have met with Vic Toews, Rob Nicholson, [and] most recently Peter MacKay.
16×9: What kind of answers do you get?
LM: Well you usually get “man I’m sorry for what happened to you,” but I don’t accept it. Sorry. I want to see some change.
16×9: Oh they’re resistant to change or…?
LM: Not that they’re resistant, they’d like to. But to change our justice system [is] really tough to do.
Pam Miller, Zachary’s mother: I don’t know how we survived though, just by the grace of God, I think. We were one unit, and there were a lot of hard days, but I think that’s what kept us together.
16×9: Many families have gone through this but very few have chosen to speak out and advocate the way you’re doing right now. Why are you doing this?
PM: I want families that have gone through this to know that no matter how hard it is, you can come out the other side with proper help. I want families to be able to – there are pedophiles everywhere. They’re right around the corner. I want families to keep their children safe and if they have gone through this to be able to talk about it. The only way we can stop these people is to keep it out in the public, to talk about it.
To hear the Miller family’s full story, watch Global 16×9’s “While I Was Gone” Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at 7pm.
© 2016 Shaw Media