Skip to comments.Couple continue to grieve for 5-year-old girl [Evelyn Miller, murdered in July, case remains open]
Posted on 09/20/2005 11:53:22 AM PDT by newgeezer
WATERLOO --- One second, the little girl was standing next to the shopping cart. The next, she was missing.
Lindsey Christie, Evelyn Miller's stepmother, practically screamed when she became an unwitting player in a game of hide-and-seek at Target. Adrenaline surged as dreadful possibilities played out in Lindsey's mind.
Finally, the 5-year-old girl stepped from under a clothing rack.
"It was 10 seconds, but when it happens, it's the worst feeling in the world," Lindsey said.
"Now imagine six days of that."
Early July 1, Evelyn was reported missing from her rural Floyd apartment by her mother, Noel Miller, and Casey Frederiksen, Noel's fiance. On the evening of July 6, law enforcement found a body in the Cedar River, just a few miles from the home.
The cause of death hasn't been released, but authorities say the girl was killed.
Learning the news, Andrew Christie, Evelyn's father and Lindsey's husband, felt anger. Lindsey went into shock and required sedation. Two months after the girl's disappearance and death, the Christies, Evelyn's noncustodial parents, say feelings of confusion, loss --- and anger --- return often.
Andrew and Noel met in high school. When Noel gave birth to Evelyn, at age 16, the couple had already split. Eventually, without a court arrangement, Noel and Andrew agreed to share Evelyn every other weekend and holiday.
Lindsey and Andrew married June 11. The live in Waterloo.
"What was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, was the last day we saw her," Andrew said.
An empty bed
Upstairs the bed waits for Evelyn. Her favorite toys cover the room. A slice of cake sits on a paper plate for the sixth birthday never celebrated.
Wesley, Evelyn's 3-year-old stepbrother, isn't allowed to play in the room anymore. He understands why.
"Evey angel," he says.
"Evey is my sister. Evey died," he says, throwing himself over his mother's lap.
A trace of suspicion passes Wesley's eyes.
The boy knows someone killed Evelyn. He also knows no one knows who, Andrew and Lindsey say. The couple hopes Evelyn's assailant was a stranger --- because they haven't begun to think about how to explain anything else.
Lindsey warned Wesley and Evelyn about stranger danger, told them not to talk to people they didn't know. If the children got lost in the trees or corn, they were instructed to just keep walking straight. If left on the side of a road, stay on the shoulder until someone finds you.
But Lindsey surmises the girl was sleeping when she was taken from her mother's home. Evelyn and her stepbrothers, Casey's and Noel's children, regularly slept in the living room in the second-story apartment.
" ... You can't tell someone to wake up from a dead sleep and scream," Lindsey said.
The girl slept heavily. And witnesses say they saw Evelyn at 2 a.m. July 1. Noel told investigators she returned from work that morning to find her daughter missing.
Noel called Andrew and Lindsey, who raced to Floyd. They hung fliers. And waited.
They thanked volunteers who searched for Evelyn but couldn't help feeling paranoid. Every stranger they met, they wondered.
"Did they take Evelyn? Were they in on it?"
The Christies still wait for the answers to their questions.
Andrew says he is unable to bring himself to work. He tried but found himself thinking about Evelyn, about what happened, about what might have happened --- and about what milestones will never happen. His employer, John Deere, and fellow employees have supported him since Evelyn went missing.
Recent searches through Noel and Casey's property are, the Christies hope, just for missed evidence. They pray neither Casey nor Noel were involved in Evelyn's disappearance.
The relationship between Noel and the Christies, who live in Waterloo, was difficult at best even when Evelyn was alive. Andrew and Lindsey said Noel and Casey's lifestyle made them fear for Evelyn's safety.
The Christies say they began saving money, hoping to take custody of Evelyn. But saving money for a $1,300 retainer fee, when living paycheck to paycheck, was taking time.
They enlisted the help of the Iowa Department of Human Services. The couple said they were among those reporting suspected home conditions before Evelyn turned 2 years old.
DHS officials never took action to remove Evelyn or Noel and Casey's two boys. Gov. Tom Vilsack reviewed the files and said the department acted appropriately.
But the Christies say their suspicions have been validated: A judge removed the two boys from Noel and Casey's home after Evelyn's death.
The couple's faith in the DHS is lacking, but the Christies believe law enforcement officers are doing their best. And they thank them.
Going through photos to make a collage of Evelyn for his living room wall, Andrew's emotions surface.
"It's a cheated feeling," he says.
Not only have they been robbed of life with Evelyn, but Evelyn was also barred from everything she might have attained.
"She had her whole life ahead of her. She was innocent. There was nothing bad about her."
Contact Jessica Miller at (319) 291-1581 or email@example.com.
How to help:
An account is set up at the First State Bank in Charles City for Evelyn Miller's memorial fund. The hope is to raise enough money to form a self-sustaining scholarship. Send checks to Evelyn Miller Memorial Fund, First Security Bank & Trust, 809 Clark St., P.O. Box 577, Charles City, IA 50616.
Richard Christie, Evelyn's grandfather, maintains a blog on the Internet for Evelyn to discuss her case. The Web site is at evelynmillermemories.blogspot.com.
Copyright © 2005 Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier
A sad little life ended for disgusting reasons.
this article doesn't give any details why her mother's "lifestyle" was so dangerous, or about the allegations of a dangerous home.
the father managed to have two children out of wedlock before he married the second one's mother - is he a whole lot steadier?
The mother had this baby when she was 16, then she took up with her current boyfriend (I'm not even sure if they are married) and she had 2 babies with him and I believe she's only like 21yrs old.
The "custodial" parents provided a home life for that poor little girl that was investigated by DYFS a few times. Unfortunately she wasn't taken away from the in time.
This "mother and boyfriend" had people drop by their apt at all hours of the night. The last two men who saw her were guys out on parole, who dropped by with some beer at 2am, and the little girl answered the door...
I'd rethink defending that mom if I was you.
I am new. Criminal visitors are bad news but the article didn't mention them.
The father also had Evelyn when he was very young, and went on to have another baby with another girlfriend. At least he went on to marry her 3 years later, but he's not a whole lot better in that regard.
Poor baby. I hope they find the killer soon.
I know some will rag on me for being judgemental, but it seems that in the majority of these cases (at least so it would appear) the family life is non-traditional. Unmarried custodial parents, divorce, etc. I feel sad for the children, but I think it is clear that the safest environment for a child is a family in which both parents are married to each other, have job(s), do not do drugs, etc.
I do feel sorry for the parents. I don't know how anyone ever recovers from the grief of losing a child.
I don't think it is defending the mom to point out, correctly, that the sperm donor was not much better.
Complaining to the Vilsack DHS! How absurd!
Can't afford a lawyer? Well, Mr. Christie, maybe you needed to get a job so you could make payments and take care of the child you already created before thinking about finding another ho?
This little girl was so beautiful, and she died in such a terrible way.
I just want justice done.
he's a little better in my eye because he seemed like he was trying to become responsible, and he wasn't the one who kept a household like that.
I'm sure he feels guilty for his role in all of this - the other two/mom & boyfriend - I just hope justice is done.
Well actually he had a job and kept up on child support, which is why he didn't have the money
I am a good friend of "Mr Christie" and just to let you know Andy has been working since he was 15, and was saving money for a lawyer. but when you are paying over $400 a month in child support, paying all of your own bills, and taking care of another child it's hard to come up with $1500 for a lawyer. He spoke to over a dozen lawyers trying to get just one of them to take payments. No one would help him, he tryed to get legal aid, but since he has a job, no one would help him. and just to let you know the reason he left Noel when she was pregnant is because she was sleeping with 3 of his "close friends" while she was pregnant.
Thanks for that. I was going to post something highly inappropriate until I read your response. Andy was a loving father to Evey and still loves his son very much. Andy is one of the hardest working people I know, second to my own father. If you want to attack people personally, at least have precise information. If not you just end up looking like an a**.
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