In 1974, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller, 28, relinquished her parental rights to her four children and vanished without a trace. Tammy Miller, who was raised by her grandmother, did not hear from her mother in 42 years. However, she was recently stunned to learn her missing mother was living 1,200 miles away in Texas under an assumed name.
In January 2014, Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis accepted the case at the behest of The Doe Network, a non-governmental organization that helps families find missing people and provide closure to cold cases. After following a complicated, and often fruitless, trail of leads, Jarvis finally located Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller, who is now 69-years-old, living in Laurel, Texas.
Lula Gillespie-Miller’s daughter Tammy has no plans for ‘happy reunion’ https://t.co/GFUXhtVIyE pic.twitter.com/aA3c7TDdEc
— MS Dhoni (@helicopterrshot) March 28, 2016
According to reports, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller wondered why people were looking for her.
“Why would anyone be looking for me? I’ve been living here for the past 20 years,” she said.
Despite the fact that she was missing for over 40 years, authorities refused to disclose Lula’s current location or her assumed name to the media, as it would have violated her rights to privacy. However, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller gave police permission to share that information with her estranged daughter, as there was hope that the two would connect and mend fences.
Unfortunately, according to Yahoo News, the Easter reunion between mother and daughter, which was widely reported in the media, did not go according to plan.
“I am angry. This isn’t going to be one of those happy, made-for-TV movies,” Tammy Miller, 45, said.
Tammy confirmed she placed a call to her estranged mother on Good Friday. However, her mother refused to acknowledge her own daughter.
“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,” a disappointed Miller said.
Miller said she is still trying to come to grips with her emotions after thinking that her mother, who had left her when she was barely 2-years-old, had died. She said it pained her to realize her mother willingly disappeared and left her children without a second thought.
“It’s like going through the grieving process again. I am glad she’s alive, but it hurts emotionally knowing this was her choice.”
People reports Tammy said she was willing to forgive her mother because she did not have an easy life. In addition to mourning the loss of her husband, who was killed in a 1969 automobile accident, Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller suffered from alcohol addiction. She was also reportedly deeply affected by a sexual assault, which left her pregnant with her fourth child.
Miller and her half-brothers, who are now 49 and 47, and a half-sister, who is now 50, were all raised by Lula’s former mother-in-law, who they lovingly called “Grandma Catherine.” Tammy said her grandmother did a tremendous job raising all four children as if they were her own.
“She never went one day without letting us kids know she loved us.”
Mother of missing woman left porch light on every night in case she came home. She was found alive after 42 years.https://t.co/wJkWro2ZEg
— Night Roamers (@NightRoamers) March 26, 2016
Tammy still broods on how a mother could leave her four young children and simply vanish without a trace. However, she credits Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller with ensuring she and her siblings were left in good hands.
“I don’t know what mother would do that. I would walk through fire for my kids. But she did one thing right, and that was giving us to our grandma. That was the best decision she ever made.”
Tammy Miller is divorced and a mother of three children, aged 20, 23, and 26. She also helped raised her boyfriend’s child, who is now 21. She currently works as an assistant in Indiana, providing occupational and speech therapies for young people.
Although the reunion with Lula Ann Gillespie-Miller was not what she hoped for, Miller admits she feels a sense of relief and closure after finding her mother.
“I am going to have a wonderful life. I know it wasn’t her fault. It was her loss,” she concluded.
[Image via Muratart/Shutterstock]