Ruth Ann Miller memorial vandalized

TAMARACK — The family of Ruth Ann Miller is looking for the return of a vase stolen from the site where the 7-year-old girl fell down a mineshaft to her death more than 50 years ago.

Sometime between July 9 and July 31, someone climbed over the fence at the memorial site. There, they unscrewed and removed one of two vases bolted down to a concrete slab.

“I had really put it on there tightly, but I guess they were stronger than me,” said Miller’s stepfather Eugene Taylor, who has maintained the site for 53 years.

It’s the first vandalism incident in a while, but it has happened occasionally, Taylor said. Once, someone shot a bronze plaque at the site.

The family put the memorial at Tamarack Mine shaft No. 4, where on July 16, 1966, Miller slipped into the vertical shaft during a game of hide and seek. A concrete cap had been placed over the shaft decades earlier, but had degraded.

Over the next three days, rescuers tried repeatedly to find Miller, to no avail.

“That’s where she is right now — her body, at least,” Taylor said. “Her soul is in heaven. It’s a place of reverence. It’s a place that should be respected, like any gravesite.”

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call Taylor at 482-7294. Or they can hope the fence again and screw it back into place.

“I can see littering, cigarette butts and pop cans, because people litter all over,” he said. “Vandalism, they had to climb the fence in order to get at the vase, to unscrew it, to steal it. Why would somebody go through that effort?”