An Ohio man recognized as legally dead since 1994 will continue to be considered dead after he lost his case to overturn his death filing.
Donald Miller, 61, testified in Ohio's Hancock County Probate Court on Monday that he went missing in 1986 after he lost his job, CNN reported. Miller abandoned his wife, two children and close to $26,000 worth of unpaid child support, according to the Courier. Several years later, his wife, Robin Miller, set about to have him declared legally dead. According to her attorney, James Hammer, this allowed the woman to receive financial support since "she would then potentially have access to collect Social Security benefits for her two minor children.”
When Donald Miller was recognized as legally dead, it did allow his family to receive his Social Security money, ABC News reports. But not even a court approved death meant the end for Miller. This year, Robin Miller was shocked to learn that her deceased husband had returned to Ohio and was attempting to reactivate his Social Security number.
“To realize that he was back and then to realize that he was going to be taking legal action, from her standpoint, was pretty unsettling and emotional,” Hammer said.
But even though he was standing alive in court in front of Judge Allan Davis, the judge ruled that Donald Miller would remain legally dead -- a ruling that Miller is accepting without much fuss. “There really wasn’t much opportunity to use any equity in this case because we have a statute right on point,” he said. The specific statute he speaks of prevents changes to death rulings after three years have gone by.
According to Donald Miller's attorney, Francis Marley, the case most likely won't move to a higher court, for now. Described as "one of those once-in-a-lifetime cases" by Davis, it isn't known what the next course of action will be for Miller.