Lula Gillespie-Miller is making headlines after being found 42 years after she went “missing,” but her 45-year-old daughter says this didn’t turn out to be a heartwarming family reunion. In an interview with People, Lula’s daughter Tammy Miller said she had a two minute conversation with her mother after the 69-year-old was found to be alive, but that she will never call her long-missing mom again.
“I’m angry. This isn’t going to be one of those happy, made-for-TV movies.”
Tammy Miller, Daughter of Lula Gillespie-Miller, Woman Missing 42 Years, Has No Plans for a Happy Reunion. My story: https://t.co/dfMyZkG4mn
— Hilary Shenfeld (@HilaryShen) March 27, 2016
Tammy Miller spent the last 40 years believing her mom Lula was dead. But when she found out Gillespie-Miller was alive and living under an alias 1,200 miles away in Texas, she said she nearly fell out of her chair. An excited Tammy placed a phone call to Gillespie-Miller, but it was far from the fairytale ending that she had hoped for, because her mom all but blew her off.
“It was less than a two minute conversation. She said, ‘I’ll call you when I’m able to talk.’ I will never call her again. It felt like being rejected all over again.”
Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller was a 28-year-old mom of four small children — two boys and two girls — when she left her Laurel, Indiana, home in 1974 at the age of 28. The widowed Gillespie-Miller signed over the care of her four children to her mother, and then skipped town. Lula sent one letter to her family, postmarked from Richmond, Indiana, in 1975. The following year, an unidentified woman’s body was found in an unmarked grave in Richmond, and the family assumed it was Lula Gillespie-Miller’s and that she was dead. But when police reopened the case of the dead Richmond woman, they discovered that Lula Gillespie-Miller was alive and well, living under a different name in Texas.
— Scoop Squid (@ScoopSquid) March 26, 2016
A police statement posted by NBC News revealed that the runaway mom “felt she was too young to be a mother at the time and signed her children over to her parents.” Because Gillespie-Miller technically did not commit a crime, police would not divulge the name she is now using or identify the Texas town where she is now living. But detectives did give Lula’s daughter, Tammy, her missing mother’s contact information.
In the People interview, Lula Gillespie-Miller’s daughter Tammy says she is happy Lula is alive, but that it still hurts to know that her troubled mother made the choice to walk out on her and her siblings 42 years ago. Tammy said she remembers that in the early 1970s her mother “really wasn’t taking care of us kids that well,” and the single mom reportedly led a troubled life after her husband died in a 1969 car accident. Lula struggled with alcohol and was allegedly raped in 1974, shortly before she left her kids to go start a new life.
“It’s almost like going through the grieving process again. I’m glad she’s alive, but it hurts emotionally knowing this was her choice.”
Tammy also said that her mom Lula did one thing right and that was sign over her four children to their beloved grandmother. Miller said “Grandma Catherine” did an “awesome” job raising her and her siblings. And while her phone call to Lula Gillespie-Miller didn’t provide a happy ending, it did give Tammy Miller some closure—even if she never talks to Lula again.
“I’m going to have a wonderful life. I know it wasn’t my fault. It was her loss.”
Take a look at the video below to see the full story about Lula Gillespie-Miller.
[Image via Indiana State Police/Facebook]