ELKHART — The friends and family of Mark Miller, who’s body was found last week in the St. Joseph River just west of Elkhart, are planning several fundraisers over the weekend.
Mellisa Breden-Miller, Mark Miller’s ex-wife, said the money will go to cover funeral expenses and for reward money in exchange for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed Miller.
Miller’s body was found in a barrel Sept. 20 in the St. Joseph River about 10 feet from the south bank, just west of the Six Span Bridge. Police ruled it a homicide.
According to Miller’s certificate of death, autopsy findings were not available to complete a cause of death. John White, Elkhart County Coroner, said a cause of death was found before the certificate was signed but because Miller’s case is an open police investigation, they are not releasing it.
He was initially reported missing Sept. 7. His family said he was last seen that day at his tattoo shop in Dunlap, where he was living at the time.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the case and have no new information, said Capt. Jim Bradberry, public information officer at the sheriff’s department.
A motorcycle ride in Miller’s honor will take place Saturday. Participants can start gathering around noon at the Hoosier Harley-Davidson at 720 Bristol Street, Elkhart. The ride will start at 1 p.m., ending at the crime scene, on S.R. 120 and C.R. 17. There will be a short ceremony for Miller there.
While friends are asking for a $25 donation, Breden-Miller said any contribution will be accepted.
“We just appreciate all the help, and even if it’s something little, it matters,” she said.
There will be two car wash fundraisers, one on Saturday at Lusher and Benham, behind Penguin Point, from noon to 4 p.m. and then one on Sunday on Baldwin and Cassopolis starting at noon.
A business has donated memorial shirts of Miller as well as decals. The shirts will cost $20 and the decals will be $10, with all proceeds going to the fund. They will be selling sets of four coasters through the company Coasters for a Cause for $10, with all proceeds going to the same fund as well.
Breden-Miller said their goal is $10,000.
“With the group of people that Mark knew and was friends with, we feel very strong that we will be able to collect that,” she said.
The family has seen a great amount of support coming from Miller’s friends, who have done as much as they can to help out, from cooking dinner to offering to babysit Miller’s children, Breden-Miller said.
“His friends have been wonderful, they’re concerned, they’re hurt. Their feelings are just the same as the family’s.”
Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the Elkhart County Coroner John White said the cause of death of Mark Miller was determined after the death certificate was found. The cause of death was determined since the autopsy was conducted on Friday, Sept. 21, but he cannot release it because Miller’s case is an open police investigation. The Truth regrets the error.