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IA- Hiker finds body presumed to be UI professor

8-25-2008 Iowa:

Local authorities believe they have found missing UI Professor Arthur Miller after a body and rifle were discovered in Hickory Hill Park on Sunday, three days after police suspended their search.

Daniel Hoover, a former member of the Linn County underwater search and rescue unit, went searching the park for Miller and found a body near a deer trail in thickly covered area, he said.

Although police can not confirm the identity of the body, Brotherton said all signs point to Miller. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning in Ankeny, Iowa.

The body was a five-minute walk from where Miller's car was found Aug. 20, said Iowa City police Sgt. Mike Brotherton.

Hoover called police at approximately 12:30 p.m. and said that he came across a deceased and decomposing body. He searched for around two hours.

"It was dense enough that you couldn't see more than five yards in that area - a person could have been five yards away and not seen anything," Hoover said.

Brotherton agreed that locating the body was difficult for searchers because he was off-trail.

When police searched Miller's car, they found two boxes of .30-06 ammunition with three missing shells, which matches the make of the gun found under the body.

Also in his car, authorities found Miller's cell phone - which was used to locate the vehicle - and his wallet containing credit cards and identification.

Brotherton said officers had been through the northern part of the park where the body was found.

The clothes Miller was last seen wearing were found on the body, and a mustard yellow blanket Miller was seen carrying into the park Aug. 19 was also near the body.

Officials have not confirmed a cause of death, but Brotherton said the scene conveyed "some consistencies and similarities that it is a suicide." He said the body appeared to have trauma to the head.

Miller was last seen on the morning of Aug. 19, when park employee saw Miller leave his red BMW. A resident on the edge of the park heard gun shots later that morning.

The 66-year-old UI political-science professor was charged Aug. 8 with four counts of accepting bribes for allegedly trading higher grades for sexual favors.

On Aug. 22, Miller's family released a statement expressing lost hope in finding the professor alive.

Miller's wife reported him missing the morning of Aug. 20. She also reported a "cryptic" note that Miller had left which authorities said was "apologetic."

Iowa City police Sgt. Troy Kelsay said Aug. 20 that the note led authorities to believe Miller was going to harm himself.

After finding Miller's car in a parking lot at Hickory Hill Park on Aug. 20, police began searching the park. But with no trace of Miller, police suspended their search of the park at 6 p.m. on Aug. 21.

The park was reopened to the public immediately after the suspension of the search.

Brotherton said he guessed that many people came out to the park this weekend to conduct their own searches.

UI President Sally Mason said on Sunday that if police confirm the body is that of the political science professor's, this would not be the outcome that she had wished for.

"It is very sad and my deepest sympathy goes out to his friends, family, colleagues," Mason said. "Concern for all parties, including the professor, was first and foremost on our minds." ..News Source.. by Ashton Shurson - The Daily Iowan

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