Family reports loved one with autism missing, finds him dead

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After family members reported Kurt Miller, 32, missing last week, they found him dead outside on Sunday.  Now they ask why they felt alone during the days they searched for Miller.

Kurt's father, Lee Miller, and younger sister, Kellie Molinet, said it was unlike him to not get in touch last Wednesday. When his phone continued to go to voicemail they reported him missing with Grand Rapids Police, but said they felt like they got little help.

"We called right away and they just said you have to wait 24-hours before you put a missing person in, but couldn't they have gone out there and looked or something?” questioned Lee Miller.

Family members told FOX 17 that Kurt was in the process of moving in with a good friend at Birchgrove Apartments. When that friend told the family that Kurt’s wallet was still in his apartment, that’s when Molinet said she had a bad feeling.

Molinet and her mother went looking for Kurt themselves at the complex this Sunday.

"First I'd seen his vest, it was against a fence, and my mom she just did started hyperventilating, and started saying, ‘that's his coat, I just bought him that,’” said Molinet. “I picked it up and then I looked over and I could see his feet, I could see his body, and I just said, 'oh my God, he's here.'"

Now family are wondering how Kurt passed, and why it felt like police were not more proactive.

Grand Rapids Police Captain Eric Payne could not comment on Miller’s open case, but said GRPD files missing persons’ reports immediately, and follows up on every tip.

“Whenever there’s a tip we will follow up on it, whether it’s a uniform officer or the detective,” said Captain Payne. “Our goal is to locate the person and let the person making the report know that they’re okay.”

But Kurt’s family is looking for answers. They said they are frustrated by the fact that they called homeless shelters, hospitals, and even jails while Kurt was missing until they found his body themselves.

"We don't want this happening to anybody else,” said Lee Miller. "And what really bothers me is Kellie's done all of this phone calling, all this communication, and that detective has still not called up here about anything. I mean she solved the case for them, she found his body, and this detective hasn't called up; why is that?"

Captain Payne told FOX 17 that the detective will be in contact with Kurt’s family soon, and said they are waiting for autopsy results.

Kurt's family members have made funeral plans for this Saturday, and are raising money for his burial expenses on their GoFundMe page.

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8 comments

  • Bill , Muskegon

    That’s It , BlameThe Police For Kurt Millers Death. It Is Tragic But Why Does Everyone Have To Put The Blame On Someone Else. The Police Have A Lot To do. Why Is It Their Fault? Where Were You When He Went Missing? Come On People Stop Blaming The Police For Everything. Take Some Responsibilty They Have A Tough Enough Job As it Is. Wake Up

  • tracyd112

    I can understand the frustration but the police cannot just go looking for someone especially at his age.They have policys to follow even with young children they wont put an Amber alert out unless they fell the child in is danger.To me a missing child just missing is in danger but that is the rules.But I have to agree with Bill people want to blame someone and it always seems to be the police.The police can only do so much and people need to stop bashing them all the time.They do Great Job but not everyone will always be happy with them but to call a news channel to belittle and blame them then it is to far.

  • shelly boeve

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I have an autistic daughter. I don’t understand why GRPD were not more responsive in this situation.

    • Sarah Jameson

      I can not believe that this family is blaming the Grand Rapids Police Department, what is wrong with society that the first act of blame is to someone else….this is sad that this family is going through this and even more sad that they are making accusations that the Police did not do their jobs, maybe they should read up on Missing Person Policies….Adults aren’t treated like children and this man was 32.

      • bootkamp616

        I think you should “read up” on missing person protocol and well being checks, because clearly you don’t have any idea about it. They did not do their jobs. Their job is to serve and protect!

  • Pamela Hansen

    In our area, South Florida, people who are elderly and have dementia or people who need assistance with daily living are announced as missing to the public in the same way a child would. I think that is only fitting; after all, the person is an individual like everyone else. People with special needs have the same rights as others even if their brain doesn’t function at their age level. I have even had several reverse 911 calls with a recorded description of a missing person (elderly or special needs) stating what he is wearing and where he is last seen. Is it that hard to care about another human? Autism is on the rise, what does the general public think that we are going to do with everyone who has Autism? Let them wander off and die? I hope not; my daughter has been failed enough by too many.