File photo Creative Commons Flickr user EEPaul
Hide Caption

Judge tells Ohio man he's still legally dead

a a a a
Share this story

FINDLAY, Ohio -- A man who disappeared decades ago is finding out there's no easy way to come back from the dead.

Donald Miller Jr. went to court this week to ask a county judge to reverse a 1994 ruling that declared him legally dead after he had vanished from his home eight years earlier. But the judge turned down his request, citing a three-year time limit for changing a death ruling.

Hancock County Probate Court Judge Allan Davis called it a "strange, strange situation."

"We've got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health," said Davis, who told Miller the three-year limit was clear.

"I don't know where that leaves you, but you're still deceased as far as the law is concerned," the judge said.

Miller resurfaced about eight years ago and went to court so that he could get a driver's license and reinstate his Social Security number.

His ex-wife had opposed the move, saying she doesn't have the money to repay the Social Security benefits that were paid out to her and the couple's two children after Miller was declared dead.

Robin Miller said her former husband vanished because he owed big child support payments and that the overdue payments had totaled $26,000 by 1994, The (Findlay) Courier reported.

Miller, 61, told the judge that he disappeared in the 1980s because he had lost his job and he was an alcoholic. He lived in Florida and Georgia before returning to Ohio around 2005.

His parents told him about his "death" when he came back to the state, he said.

"It kind of went further than I ever expected it to," Miller said. "I just kind of took off, ended up in different places."

Miller's attorney said he may be able to challenge the Social Security Administration in federal court, but does not have the financial resources to do so.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Ohio News
Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting
Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting

Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its…

Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag
Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag

An Ohio woman, who eats a salad nearly every day and makes spinach smoothies, has lost her appetite for her favorite vegetable after making a…

Ohio unemployment rate drops to 6.1 percent
Ohio unemployment rate drops to 6.1 percent

The state says Ohio's unemployment rate dropped in March to the lowest level in six years.

Ohio sees record high heroin overdose deaths
Ohio sees record high heroin overdose deaths

A record number of Ohioans died from heroin-related overdoses in 2012, the state Department of Health said as it released the newest…

OH justice: division over death penalty expected
OH justice: division over death penalty expected

The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court says divisions about the death penalty on a panel that spent more than two years studying capital…

Judge: Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages
Judge: Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages

A federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in states that allow same-sex marriage.

Cops: Ohio man's drone hindered medical chopper
Cops: Ohio man's drone hindered medical chopper

A man is facing charges after deputies say he was flying a video camera-equipped drone that hindered the landing of a medical helicopter at…

Central Ohio mumps outbreak tops 200 cases
Central Ohio mumps outbreak tops 200 cases

Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases.

Appeals judge to hear Toledo traffic camera case
Appeals judge to hear Toledo traffic camera case

A veteran northeast Ohio appellate judge will sit in when the Ohio Supreme Court decides in a lawsuit against traffic camera enforcement.

Man sits at corner with sign for bullying kids
Man sits at corner with sign for bullying kids

A man accused of harassing a neighbor and her disabled children for the past 15 years sat at a street corner Sunday morning with a sign…