News of a South Carolina woman’s death on April 27 went viral after social media users questioned the way her estranged husband announced her passing, which authorities officially ruled a suicide.

Mica Miller, 30, was found with a gunshot wound in Lumber River State Park outside Lumberton, North Carolina on Saturday, April 27. Viral interest began to grow on after Mica’s estranged husband, Pastor John Paul (JP) Miller announced her death on April 28 after he preached his sermon. 

Journalists Mandy Matney and Liz Farrell discussed the early days into the investigation of Mica’s death with attorney Eric Bland in Cup of Justice Episode 79 and in True Sunlight Episode #50

As discussed in True Sunlight and according to reports, JP was arrested in Feb 1998 after he was charged with hitting a woman with his car–twice. 

This is from the Sept. 26, 1998 edition of the Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Documents obtained (see page 6) by Luna Shark found that Mica filed for a motion for temporary relief which was scheduled to be heard in court on June 5, 2024. Now that Mica is unable to represent herself, her sister Sierra will serve as the special administrator of Mica’s estate. 

Sierra also stated that Mica was “afraid for her life,” according to court documents (page 14) obtained by Luna Shark.  

Other records obtained by Luna Shark show that a tracker was discovered in March 2024 on a vehicle that Mica was known to frequently drive. Police noted that this was not the first time Mica had found a tracking device on her vehicle. 

Police stated in a separate report that an “out of place” handprint that “appeared to be male” was discovered on the bumper of the vehicle, near where the tracker was placed. Authorities also noted that the only purported drivers of the vehicle were female and that Mica’s brother, who was with her at the time, had a smaller handprint. 

According to the police report, Mica wanted to turn over the tracker as evidence because she allegedly thought JP placed it on the vehicle. 

According to police statements, Mica and JP were “estranged” and that they were involved in legal proceedings regarding the separation. 

In True Sunlight Episode 50, co-hosts Mandy Matney and Liz Farrell discussed the complexities of Mica and JP’s marriage.

It is important to note that JP filed a report with police on March 27, 2024 claiming that he was being harassed online and via text by Mica and her family. 

On May 7, the Robeson County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office announced that Mica’s death was officially ruled a suicide by the medical examiner. Footage shared by police showed Mica purchasing a gun in Myrtle Beach the day she died. 

According to the statement, a female called 911 on April 27 at approximately 2:54 PM.

Premium Members can listen to the entire 911 call here. 

Dispatch was eventually able to locate the caller via her cell phone, and a deputy was sent to her location. Deputies, State Park Rangers and Robeson County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search for the caller and Mica’s vehicle was located in the parking lot at Lumber River State Park.

“Investigators also found a receipt for the Sig Sauer handgun from a pawn shop and a receipt from a convenience store in the vehicle. Both receipts were dated for the same day of Miller’s death (April 27, 2024).” 

Police also stated that an individual found items belonging to Mica by the water edge and said he “heard someone crying and a gunshot while he was fishing.” 

Mica was later discovered deceased in the water and the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted. The handgun was also located near the scene, with the serial number matching the gun box discovered in Mica’s vehicle. 

A search of Mica’s cell phone showed a Google search for “national parks near me.” 

Police stated in a press release obtained by Luna Shark that they believed JP was in an alleged romantic relationship with a woman. While online speculators have identified an individual, this has yet to be confirmed by authorities. 

“This information led to the investigators confirming the whereabouts of Miller and a female that he is allegedly romantically involved with,” Robeson County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement. “Investigators were able to confirm that both individuals were not in North Carolina on the night before and the day of the Miller’s death.”

According to police, JP’s vehicle was “observed” driving in Horry County at 2:22 PM on April 27. 

“The investigation confirmed that John Miller was accompanied while traveling to and from the event in Charleston, SC,” police stated. 

Following an investigation, police stated that JP was in South Carolina on the day of and night before Mica’s death. 

The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office also published this powerpoint which outlines further details on their investigation.

According to investigators, officials met with Mica’s immediate family on May 7. Police offered to meet with JP separately but communicated through his lawyer that he would not meet with investigators in North Carolina. 

Additionally, JP’s attorney Russell B. Long issued a press release citing intentions to “serve civil litigation” for anyone continuing to publish defamatory remarks about his client. 

We plan on diving deeper into JP’s background as we receive more documents Beth Braden FOIA requested. 

Stay Tuned, Stay Pesky, and Stay in the Sunlight. 

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Follow Sam Berlin

Sam Berlin

Sam is an award winning-journalist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and currently living in Brooklyn, New York.

She graduated from Syracuse University in 2020 where she studied magazine journalism, photography, and sociology.

She joined Luna Shark Media in 2023 where she assists with research, producing, recording and editing for True Sunlight and Cup of Justice podcasts.

Through her detailed, ethical reporting and multimedia experience, Sam creates enterprise stories and works to unravel the truth around her.

RESOURCES:

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health crisis, please consider the following resources: 

  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: CALL 988 OR VISIT 988lifeline.org
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: TEXT “home” to 741741
  • The Trevor Project: CALL (866) 488-7386

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic, sexual, or dating violence, please condier the following resources: 

  • National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • StrongHearts Native Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483)
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN Network): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline: CALL 855-812-1001 OR VISIT thedeafhotline.org

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