Investigators hope tests on a three-ton hunk of concrete will soon solve the 1989 disappearance of a young mother, by determining whether her remains were fed through a wood chipper and then entombed in the basement of a Pennsylvania duplex. Sunbury Police Chief Tim Miller announced earlier this month that preliminary results showed the concrete contained wood chips, and he’s waiting to see if they also hold the remains of Barbara Elizabeth Miller, the AP reports. A forensic pathologist is “dissecting the walls, so to speak, piece by piece, hammer-and-chisel type, looking for the smallest of clues,” Miller, no relation to Barbara Miller, said last week. He called it “mere speculation if a wood chipper was or wasn’t used. Obviously the presence of wood chips in a concrete wall is highly suspicious.”
An affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for the Milton home disclosed that investigators believe the woman may have been killed by her ex-boyfriend, a onetime Sunbury policeman named Joseph Walter “Mike” Egan. The affidavit said that several people have said that over the years, Egan would talk about driving past his sister’s home in Milton to “visit” his “old lady,” the same building where police seized the massive chunk of cement currently being examined. Egan, a Northumberland resident who trims trees for a living, on Friday flatly denied he had anything to do with Barbara Miller’s disappearance. The affidavit says Barbara Miller, then 30 years old, had complained to police in the months before she disappeared about Egan, and days before she vanished, told friends she feared for her life. Egan, 69, reported her missing five days after she disappeared, then moved into her home.