Murder County, U.S.A.
I live in a very murder-y little county. Maybe there’s something in the water. Maybe I’m trapped in a Stephen King novel.
Nothing would surprise me anymore.
And for whatever weird reason, I’m tangentially connected to many of the people involved in a number of these murders: the victims, the suspects, and the supporting cast of players.
I’ve wanted to write true crime stories here for a long time, but something always gets in the way. Like contests, or an urgent need to nap, or — the bane of writers everywhere — life.
But it’s too hot outside to do anything else, so let’s talk about murder.
Last August, a man named Robert Dick shot his wife and mother-in-law point blank in a house that I pass every day on the way to work. Somehow I think it should stand out more, but it looks like all the other houses. He plead guilty and received a life sentence.
No “not guilty by reason of insanity,” no messing around, no excuses. He killed them, his 17-year-old son witnessed it, he went to prison. The end.
There’s not much more to write about that.
But the disappearance of Jane Milota is different.
First, let me emphasize that no one has been charged. No body has been found. I’m drawing my information from readily available news articles. The police “do not suspect foul play.”
But this is not my first Dateline episode.
Jane was last seen on August 9, 2021, when she dropped her adult special-needs son off for his job at the Westfield Inn (which is only a few miles from my house) around 7:30 a.m.
Sometime after that, she disappeared. She never showed up for her shift at Arby’s, about 20 minutes away, and she didn’t call to say she wasn’t coming in.
The 53-year-old was driving a brown Buick Enclave with license plate number HCA7418. She wasn’t seen carrying a cell phone at last sighting, and her husband, Warren Milota, told authorities that her phone was still at home.