It’s been 15 years since the brutal murder of Peggy Miller and authorities are still looking for answers.

On September 22, 2002, Miller was found in her burned-out car in St. Francois County. Her home in nearby Iron County had also been set on fire.

St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said there hasn’t been any activity on the case in the last year or so. He said it’s still open and when the detectives get a chance they go back and look at the case.

“They go over the leads that came in earlier in the case, but so far nothing has developed on it,” said Bullock. “Originally we had a task force put together to run down the original leads on it. It was the (Missouri State) Highway Patrol, Iron County and the detectives here.”

Bullock said they just have not received anything new on the case. He added he thinks of the case over the years and hopes to solve it one day.

“Since I have been sheriff this has been the only murder that is unsolved. There are others from before my time, but this is the only long-time case we haven’t been able to close in my time,” said Bullock. “We were able to get some evidence at the time, but most of it was burned since her vehicle and home was burned.”

Bullock said even with advancements in technology, there still isn’t much to go on. Although they have withheld some of the details and evidence from the public over the years.

“We don’t know if she was killed down here in St. Francois County or in Iron County,” said Bullock. “That is why we have worked with Iron County over the years, because it could have been either place.”

He said there are things only they know about, so if they do get any new leads, they will know if a person was there and saw what happened to Miller.

“There are just some things we have kept secret all these years, the cause of death being one of them, at least the way we think she was killed,” said Bullock. “It was a very specific way that she killed, only someone who was there would know how it happened.”

Bullock said they have had people of interest in the case over the years. In fact they have brought them in and released them after questioning.

“We have had several leads come in over the years and have run them down, but to no avail at this time,” said Bullock. “This is the third different (set of) detectives we have had look at it, because people have retired or passed away over the years. Even the original Iron County Sheriff who was in office when Miller was murdered has since passed away.”

Bullock still thinks someone out there knows what happened or has information that can help. He believes more than one person was involved in her murder.

On the day of Miller’s death firefighters were called to her home at the intersection of what was then Route W and Highway 21 in the early morning hours of Sept. 22, 2002. Her house had been set on fire.

Her body was found in her burned-out car on Indian Creek Road not far from the Iron County line.

Police believe the fires were set at about the same time and they don’t know which fire was set first. 

Investigators have said they believe more than one person was involved in the murder and that these people are familiar with the area. They say going to Miller’s home seems random and unplanned as there is no clear motive.

What police thought was an unusual gas can found at her house and a phone call made at 1 a.m. from her house to an elderly woman in Richland haven’t netted much in the investigation.

Family members have said Miller was not the type of person to make enemies or put herself in contact with people who would commit horrendous crimes.

She worked part time at Parkland Health Center, attended church at First Baptist Church in Pilot Knob and was active in her grandchildren’s lives.

There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Miller’s death.

After all these years, he asks that anyone with information or anyone who was in the area that day to contact the department with information, no matter how insignificant. Anyone with any information that could help solve Miller’s murder is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 573-431-2777 or Central Dispatch at 573-431-3131.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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