Family slams SiRT for allegedly refusing to consider new evidence concerning Clayton Miller’s death

Maureen Miller says she will continue to fight for justice in her son, Clayton's death. File/Global News

The Miller family is calling upon the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) — the province’s independent police watchdog — to “explain its continued refusal to consider new evidence” of what happened to Clayton Miller.

Clayton Miller was only 17 when his lifeless body was found in a small brook in New Waterford, N.S., on May 6, 1990. The last time the teen had been seen alive was two days prior at a party that was raided by police.

The Millers have never accepted the answers provided to them by investigators or the conclusion reached by two separate reports: that Clayton’s death was an accident.

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

In a statement released on Tuesday by the law firm that represents them, the family said that the official narrative is “littered with inconsistencies and contradictions.”

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According to the statement, two days after his death, Clayton’s body was discovered in a brook in the “Nest” area of New Waterford, mere steps away from a police raid of an outdoor party, and in a location that now three independent witnesses state was thoroughly searched by the Cape Breton Search and Rescue (CBS&R) Team just hours before.

In light of this, the Millers’ lawyer, Ray Wagner, and a concerned citizen, Steve McNenly, said they have conducted a private investigation of Clayton’s case and sent letters to SiRT, demanding an explanation for its “refusal to interview witnesses with critical previously unconsidered information, and its repeated failures to explain material discrepancies surrounding the circumstances of Clayton’s death.”

Click to play video: 'SiRT concludes new information ‘not reliable’, no further investigation needed in Clayton Miller death'
SiRT concludes new information ‘not reliable’, no further investigation needed in Clayton Miller death

The statement released by Wagner’s law firm illustrates the issues which the Millers believe have been ignored, misinterpreted, or not investigated thoroughly enough by SIRT:

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  • In April 2015, SiRT concluded that Clayton’s body was in the brook between May 4 and 6, 1990, and that he died of hypothermia. But the family said that other evidence, including witness accounts of seeing Clayton in a police vehicle on the night of the raided party and physical signs of trauma incompatible with this cause of death, have been uniformly ignored.
  • In July 2017, SiRT was presented with a video of the detailed account of Bryan MacDonald, a former member of Cape Breton Search and Rescue (CBS&R) Team, explaining that the search team had scoured for hours the exact area where Clayton’s body was found less than 24 hours later.

The family said that without even contacting Bryan MacDonald, former director of SiRT, Ron MacDonald, dismissed the evidence provided by Bryan, publicly claiming that “(t)he individual that was interviewed and provided this information to the Millers is known to SiRT to be elderly and unwell.”

“Not only is it reprehensible to call into question someone’s mental state without having the decency of even speaking with them, but there are now two other independent witnesses who confirm this search took place,” Wagner said. “We know it’s impossible for Clayton to have died in the brook where he was found on May 6.”

Click to play video: '‘New development’ gives family hope in Clayton Miller death'
‘New development’ gives family hope in Clayton Miller death

He said that six private citizens and a professional search team all unequivocally state that Clayton’s body was not there in the exact area where the body was later found a day earlier.

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“We have lost complete faith in the justice system in this province,” said Maureen Miller, Clayton’s mother, who has been searching for the truth of what happened to her son for over 30 years now.

“In the face of two more individuals who verify Bryan MacDonald’s evidence, it is clear that SiRT simply has no interest in uncovering the truth. Where did Clayton die, and how did he end up in the brook?”

The Miller family said they’ll continue to challenge the answers provided to them by investigators, and get to the heart of what really happened.

Global has reached out to SiRT, and received an email from independent civilian director Felix Cacchione saying that he will have an answer sometime next week in regards to the family’s statement.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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