Body identified as missing Winnsboro woman, age 89

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 13, 2007 - Winnsboro Police Department Tuesday evening officially called off the search for 89-year-old Jamie Milner, who had been missing since May 31, after her body was found Tuesday in the car she was last seen driving.

Staff Photo by Faith Huffman

Hopkins County Sheriff's officers, firemen, state troopers and Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp verify the car found by tree trimmers Tuesday afternoon belonged to Jamie Milner. Medical examiners confirmed that the body found inside was Milner, who had been missing for 2 weeks. 

The vehicle was located in thick shrubbery off of State Highway 11 east around 2:50 p.m. Tuesday. Medical examiners confirmed this morning that the body found in the car was Milner, who was last seen at 6:41 a.m. May 31.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Office was contacted at 2:53 p.m. by members of a crew who were trimming trees along utility lines on State Highway 11. They reported seeing what appeared to be a white car in the dense shrubbery in the field on the north side of SH 11 just west of FM 1870. 

Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Hopkins County and Brinker firefighters responded. Winnsboro Police Department was also contacted, as they had also taken the lead in the investigation into Milner's disappearance. Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp was also called in.

They confirmed the white Mercury Grand Marquis to be the one Milner was last seen driving east out of the Wal-Mart parking lot in Sulphur Springs. They also located a body which, due to the state of decomposition, they believe to have been in the car for quite a while.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King has ordered an autopsy be performed to determine cause of death and definitely identify the deceased as Milner. Her family was contacted Tuesday evening after the body was removed from the car.

Based on information obtained at the scene, officials believe Milner's car was traveling east on SH 11 when it crossed the westbound lane of traffic, through the ditch on the the north side, past a barbed wire fence and through the shrubbery before coming to rest between two trees.

Winnsboro police last week said that, based on surveillance video from Wal-Mart in Sulphur Springs, they know Milner left the store in her car around 6:40 a.m. Thursday, May 31. She was headed east, likely for home. 

Milner's family and local law enforcement searched the area between Wal-Mart in Sulphur Springs and Milner's Winnsboro residence, and Hopkins County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Rickey Morgan and Texas Department of Public Safety searched the area for the woman's car in helicopters last week, all with no results. Other crews working in and around the area had also kept an eye out for the car since Milner was reported missing.

Kemp said the canopies of foliage and shrubbery camouflaged the car to the point it was not visible from either the road or air.

DPS is awaiting the results of the autopsy to determine the time of death and if medical problems (Milner suffered from diabetes) or a traffic incident caused the crash and death.

Funeral arrangements for Jamie Gray Milner are pending with Beaty Funeral Home in Winnsboro.

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