Tuesday morning, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) resulted in agents seizing the private collection of Donald C. Miller, 91, of Waldron. The large F.B.I. presence came unannounced to Miller’s rural residence, 8339 South CR 850W. A short time later, agents, professor’s from I.U.P.U.I. and other professionals began the tedious job of identifying and categorizing Miller’s extensive collection that has been amassed during eight decades.
During his lifetime, Miller has traveled extensively throughout the world and is a known collector of Native American artifacts – a collection that encompasses not only his residence, but also a number of outlying buildings on his rural property.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, F.B.I. Special Agent in charge of the investigation Robert A. Jones and others fielded questions about the seizure.
“Over the last several months, an F.B. I. investigation has determined that Mr. Miller may of knowingly and unknowingly collected artifacts, relics and objects of cultural patrimony, in violation of several treaties along with Federal and State statutes,” special agent Jones said.
Jones continued by saying that due to the size of Miller’s private collection and as means to safeguard the portion of his personal property that Miller acquired in good faith, a special support staff is a part of the investigating team at the scene and they are present to identify, collect, categorizes and document items.
“In addition to members of the F.B.I. Art Crime team, personnel on site consist of non-F.B.I. experts in the fields of archeology, anthropology, object conservation, museum registration, fine arts and antiquity handling, photography and other experts in Native American studies,” Jones said.
According to the F.B. I., the purpose of the teams comprised will be to repatriate the items.
Jones continued by saying that the size and scope of Miller’s collection warranted the number of agents and experts dispatched to his residence. He said they will remain on the scene for an unforeseen time.
“The goal of this operation is to preserve and repatriate these artifacts and relics in accord with international, federal and state law,” Jones said.
Items in Miller’s collection contain Native American artifacts, archeological and anthropological artifacts from the U.S., China, Haiti, Australia, Russia, New Guinea, Italy, New Zealand, Greece, Puerto Rico and Peru to name few of the growing lists of countries.
At this time, Miller is facing no charges and, according to Jones, once the investigation is complete all the information obtained will be handed to the U.S. District Attorney’s office. Then and only then will it be known if any charges will be filed.
Read more on this story as information is made available, in future editions of the Rushville Republican.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.