Sunday, April 06, 2014

FBI seizes thousands of cultural artifacts from rural Indiana home of 91-year-old man

FBI agents on Thursday were still removing thousands of artifacts ranging from arrowheads to shrunken heads and Ming Dynasty jade from a house in rural Indiana. A 91-year-old man amassed the vast collection over several decades, perhaps since he began digging up arrowheads as a child. People who had toured Donald Miller's home years before the FBI's arrival on Wednesday described it as a homemade museum containing diverse items including fossils, Civil War memorabilia and what the owner claimed to be a chunk of concrete from the bunker in which Adolf Hitler committed suicide toward the end of World War II. It wasn't immediately clear how Miller acquired some of the items, but those who know him said he had been collecting since childhood. "He's been digging, I'm sure, since he was old enough to dig," said Andi Essex, whose business repaired water damage in Miller's basement a few years ago. None of the artifacts was damaged, she said. Miller made no secret of his collection, those who know him said. He took schoolchildren on tours of his amateur museum, which even contained human remains, they said. A 150ft underground tunnel linking two homes on Miller's property in a rural Indiana area whose largest city has a population of about 6,000 people, was adorned with a 60ft, 4ft-wide anaconda snakeskin, Runnebohm said. Carefully labeled glass showcases boasted hundreds of Native American arrowheads, along with human skulls including one with an arrowhead stuck in it. Upstairs was a pipe organ that Miller played for visitors. "He never tried to hide anything," Runnebohm said. "Everything he had he was real proud of, and he knew what everything was."...more

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