The objects on the screen at Donald C. Miller’s home in Waldron, Indiana.
The FBI is looking for the rightful owners of thousands of artifacts and the rightful resting place for thousands of human bones after the massive, illegal stock has been seized from the house of a scientist who worked on the first atomic bomb.
Donald C. Miller ran a museum in his home in Waldron, Ind., of artifacts he unearthed during his travels to South America, North America, Asia and the Indo-Pacific regions. Some of the items he had on display included Ming vases, Native American jewelry and human remains. The FBI said Miller collected more than 42,000 artifacts in the course of about 60 years. He died in 2015 at the age of 91.
Donald C. Miller has collected more than 42,000 artifacts over a period of 60 years, the FBI said.
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Miller was “a renowned scientist, who has helped in the construction of the first atomic bomb,” and opened his house for those who wanted to come and see the artifacts, the FBI said. “He usually kept hidden hundreds of human remains,” the agency said.
The FBI said they received a tip in 2013, that Miller was in possession of the remains, many of indian origin, in his home. In 2014, Miller, a Christian missionary, agreed to “relinquish objects which he had most likely acquired in violation of state and federal legislation and international treaties,” the FBI said. The raid “does not result in Miller’s arrest or the charges,” The Washington Post reported. However, until this week, much of what the FBI found within the details of the case were not made public.
“He [Miller] together with us in the course of the investigation,” FBI Special Agent Tim Carpenter said, “and it was his desire that we have these objects and return them to their rightful owners, and for the native american ancestors to be reburied in the proper manner.”
In 2014, the FBI was able to seize the 7000 items. Carpenter called the recovery operation “complex.”
The artifacts discovered by the FBI.
“We are not to treat this material just as proof,” he said. “These objects are historically, culturally and spiritually important, and you should take that into consideration.”
The FBI noted Miller did not keep track of the artifacts, making it difficult for the FBI to return them to their rightful owners.
Carpenter told CBS News in an interview this week that 2,000 human bones, believed to have been taken from indian burial places, were found in the house, and the FBI is of the opinion that the remains “represent about 500 people.” Carpenter said Miller admitted he came by the majority of the artifacts illegally, and he seemed to be went to not-recognised archaeological finds all over the world.
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The FBI said that they were busy with the Native American tribes to return the remains back to their own cemetery. Carpenter said the return of the remains is the most important part of the mission.
The FBI is hoping to return the objects to their rightful owners.
“You have to treat these people with dignity. These are human beings and people. It matters. It has meaning to the people of today, it has meaning to our children and their children,” Carpenter told CBS News.
Why Miller would have that many bones, Carpenter had no answer.
“I don’t know. I don’t really know,” Carpenter said.