John Van Vliet Miller

Miller, circa 1975

  • Missing Since 05/01/1975
  • Missing From Tenants Harbor, Maine
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Age 21 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'10 - 6'0, 195 - 210 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Lobster boat (accounted for), Plywood skiff (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Red hair, blue eyes. Miller's nickname is Judd, and many agencies refer to him by that name.

Details of Disappearance

Miller was last seen floating in his lobster boat in the ocean off Tenants Harbor, Maine on May 1, 1975. He was accompanied by his friend and business partner, Michael Pearcy, at the time. Miller had just purchased the boat and was on his way home from Stockton Springs, Maine. He and Pearcy have never been heard from again.

The next day, Miller's boat was found anchored in off Turtle Head on Isle Au Haut. The hatch cover was off, leading to speculation that the vessel became overheated, and the plywood skiff was missing. The skiff was found floating upside down near Belfast, Maine a day after the boat was found. There was no sign of Pearcy or Miller.

Investigators believe both men drowned. They speculate that one fell over and the other went in to save him, or that they both got into the skiff and tried to go back to shore, but got into trouble in the water.

The water was only 40 degrees Fahrenheit on the day Miller and Pearcy disappeared, but the weather and the ocean conditions were ideal for sailing. The United States Coast Guard investigated and issued a report saying the two men were presumed lost at sea.

Miller's family, however, believes he may have survived. They think he may have suffered a head injury, developed amnesia, and forgotten his identity. There have been reported sightings of Miller since his disappearance, which would support the amnesia theory, but none of the sightings have been confirmed.

Pearcy and Miller's cases remained unsolved and they are still presumed drowned.

Investigating Agency

  • Knox County Sheriff's Office 207-594-0429

Source Information

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 14, 2019; name corrected, height and weight added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.