SiRT concludes new information ‘not reliable’, no further investigation needed in Clayton Miller death

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WATCH: Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team has announced they will not be reopening an investigation into the death of Clayton Miller, whose body was found in a brook in New Waterford in 1990. Natasha Pace reports – Oct 19, 2017

Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) says no further investigation is needed in a controversial case that has spanned almost three decades.

Clayton Miller was only 17 years old when his body was found in a brook in New Waterford, N.S., on May 6, 1990. His family was told Miller’s death was an accident.

The Cape Breton teen was last seen alive two days earlier when a party was raided by police.

READ: Family still searching for answers nearly 3 decades after Clayton Miller’s death

New witness account 

Miller’s parents, Maureen and Gervase Miller, have never believed what officials have told them and have always maintained there was a cover-up in their son’s death.

They claim Miller was killed by members of the New Waterford police and have been looking for their son’s case to be re-opened.

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In July of this year, the Millers and their lawyer, Ray Wagner, held a press conference in Halifax, where a videotaped interview with former Cape Breton Search and Rescue co-ordinator Bryan McDonald was played.

In the statement, McDonald said he and his team searched the day before in the same area Miller’s body was found but didn’t locate anything.

Maureen Miller said at the time, that the new witness account backs up their belief that their son’s body was moved.

WATCH: New witness account gives family hope in ’90s death of teen Clayton Miller

Click to play video: '‘New development’ gives family hope in Clayton Miller death' ‘New development’ gives family hope in Clayton Miller death
‘New development’ gives family hope in Clayton Miller death – Jul 10, 2017

‘This file should have been closed when it was closed in 1990’

SiRT says they reviewed the information from Bryan MacDonald to see if it justifies a re-opening of SiRT’s investigation into the Clayton Miller case – but have concluded the information is “not reliable.”

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“This file should have been closed when it was closed in 1990, unfortunately it keeps coming back,” SiRT director Ron MacDonald told Global News.

“We don’t have any intention to re-investigate this matter.”

In their report, SiRT says the Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization, which keeps records of search and rescue operations in the province, has no record of such a search on May 5, 1990.

SiRT also says they spoke with the person who was responsible for the records of the Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue Team and no records were located to confirm a search was conducted on May 5, 1990, in relation to Clayton Miler.

“This never happened. Unfortunately, the gentlemen who said this happened is mistaken. Why he’s mistaken, I can only speculate as to that,” said MacDonald.

The full report from SiRT can be found here.

SiRT never actually spoke to witness 

SiRT says the person who was interviewed and provided the information to the Millers is known to be “elderly and unwell.”

According to the report, the known evidence shows “he is mistaken about his recollection” and SiRT says they are unable to explain his comments.

“There’s no way that the facts that he put forward can be accurate. The known facts simply do not support this,” said MacDonald.

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“In addition, we’ve had no other member of the ground search and rescue team come forward to talk about this search having been done.”

MacDonald admits SiRT never actually spoke to Bryan MacDonald, the man who provided the account.

Instead, they relied on a videotaped statement that the Miller family and their law firm had done.

“We saw what he had to say. Plus we had information that he’s elderly and suffering from a serious illness and we determined in all those circumstances there was no need for us to speak with him,” said MacDonald.

Because there is no evidence to suggest a formal or informal search for Miller occurred on May 5, 1990, SiRT says there is no reason to consider any further investigation into this matter.

WATCH: Findings of Clayton Miller report

Miller family says they never influenced witness to come forward

Maureen Miller isn’t surprised that SiRT doesn’t want to re-open her son’s case – but she can’t believe that investigators wouldn’t speak with the new witness.

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“I think any investigator would go and question the person to get a feeling where this person is coming from,” she told Global News.

In the report, SiRT says they can’t determine if MacDonald was confused about the date of the search he went on – or if or his evidence is the result of influence from others.

Maureen says she and her husband Gervase don’t know Bryan MacDonald.

“I have never met Mr. MacDonald. Nor have I ever spoke to him or influenced him in any way,” she said.

READ MORE: Clayton Miller death was accident: review

Lawyer says they have records of search

Kate Boyle, a lawyer working at Wagner’s Law Firm on the Miller case calls SiRT’s report disappointing but not overly surprising.

“From our perspective, it wasn’t a fully independent and unbiased review of whether reopening the case was warranted,” Boyle said.

She is concerned that no one spoke with MacDonald about what he witnessed in 1990. She described MacDonald as providing a thorough recollection of what happened when he gave a statement to lawyers within the last year.

“That is a major problem from our perspective that calls into question really the thoroughness of this investigation.”

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Boyle also disputes the fact SiRT says there are no records about a search happening.

She says the law firm requested files from the Cape Breton Regional Police Service some time ago. In those files, there was a handwritten note with the names and phone numbers of search and rescue officials.

“There’s just no explanation of why there’s a list of Cape Breton search and rescue individuals in the police file if it didn’t happen.”

READ: Nova Scotia police watchdog investigating info in Clayton Miller’s death

SiRT maintains Clayton died from hypothermia, had no contact with police

SiRT says their April 2015 report reviewed 25 years of information and concluded that Miller was not beaten or killed by anyone, but died from hypothermia.

A full look at the 2015 report can be found here.

“From day 1, there were never any injuries, no doctor ever saw any injuries on Clayton Miller that would suggest that anybody did anything that would have caused his death, rather his death has death was caused by hypothermia,” said MacDonald. “In addition, there has never been any evidence to show that the police had any contact with him at all that weekend.”

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“Unfortunately, in our society we have people who come forward with stories and remain convinced of them, in spite of the scientific and known facts. This is one of those examples,” he added.

MacDonald says he understand the Miller family may not be happy with the SiRT report.

“It is the case that the family will be disappointed with this. It is the case the family may accuse this office being involved in some form of conspiracy. All I can say is this is an objective, third-party independent office. I have no reason to stick up for anybody. I only stick up for the facts,” he said.

Millers want meeting with justice minister, outside investigation

The Millers say they want a meeting with Mark Furey, the province’s justice minister about Clayton’s case.

A request was made but so far, no date has been set for the two sides to discuss the matter.

Maureen says she believes SiRT was only involved in her son’s file for “damage control” and to “protect the police”. She wants an out-of-province, independent investigation to take place once and for all and vows to never keep fighting for justice for her son.

“Clayton deserves this,” she said.


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