Family shares tears of joy, sadness over arrests

Published 10:37 pm Sunday, September 14, 2008

By Staff
Miller’s sister and daughters never gave up hope
Staff Writer
With two arrests 36 years in the making comes relief, joy and sadness for Sgt. William “Billy” Miller’s family.
When Miller was gunned down on Sept. 16, 1972, he left behind three young daughters to wonder, why, and what could have been.
Kimberly Henige, the oldest of Miller’s daughters, still has faint memories of her long-gone father.
Henige, who was 6 years old at the time of her father’s death, said, “Mostly what I remember is the time we missed.”
She was living with her mother in Madison, Wis. after Miller and her motherdivorced when Henige was only a toddler.
Miller decided to move to North Carolina to start a new life with the Marine Corps, but still spent all the time he could with his daughters.
Henige said her most cherished memories of her father are of rough-housing in the backyard.
Recalling such little memories, Henige grows saddened.
Miller’s oldest daughter, who still lives in Madison, Wis., was overcome with emotion when she got the news of George Hayden’s arrest in the cold case.
Henige was hammering away at work, when she received a joyous phone call from her aunt, and Miller’s sister, Sharron Aguilar. Henige said the good news from her aunt “knocked me off my heels.”
After overcoming the initial shock of such news, Miller’s oldest daughter took it all in.
Throughout her life, there were times when Henige thought the case would never be solved.
While Henige felt the case was, at times, hopeless, her aunt Aguilar was after Miller’s attackers from the outset.
For the better part of 36 years, Aguilar would “chase down every sheriff that would listen,” Miller’s oldest daughter said. “She was gonna go until she couldn’t go anymore.”
Henige’s half-sister, and only daughter to Vickey Miller Babbitt and Miller, Wendy Miller-McGee also sought justice after being told the certain truth behind her father’s death from Aguilar.
Miller-McGee, realizing the implications of pinning the murder of her father on her mother, Babbitt, still stuck with the case.
Chad Hull, husband to Miller’s middle daughter, Tamara Hull, said “Everyone had a hand in trying to keep (the case) alive.”
Hull said his family even wrote in to America’s Most Wanted, “just to try to get them to mention it.”
Like his half sister-in-law, Hull visited Miller’s grave site in Arlington National Cemetery.
Hull said he was in Washington, D.C. on business when he paid Miller a visit.
It hasn’t been very easy for Henige to talk about her father’s death.
But she also wants to remind everyone that has lost, and never had closure, that there is always hope.