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Anniversaries bring more heartache for Paul Miller's wife

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of a Guelph man while on a hike in California
Paul Miller
Paul Miller. Family photo

Stephanie Miller will spend Saturday, at home with her children, sharing the day with visits from family and friends.

July 13 marks the one year anniversary of the disappearance of her husband Paul, the 51-year-old Guelph man who went missing after going for a solo hike in California's Joshua Tree National Park.

"We're just going to hang around and be available to anybody that wants to hang out with us," Stephanie says Thursday.

Anniversaries are especially tough on the Millers.

"They're all bad. Our anniversary was worse. June 6. It would have been 27 years," Stephanie says.

She adds that sometimes it's "just the weirdest things that just set you off."

"Something happens and I think 'oh, I can't wait to tell Paul!' then it's 'oh, wait ....'"

The Miller's were celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary at the time. They were readying to come home when Stephanie decided to stay at the hotel and pack for the journey home the next day while Paul went for one last hike to capture some photographs.

When he didn't return, she called the authorities and a large search kicked into gear. No signs of Paul were found. Five days later the search was scaled back and Stephanie returned to Guelph to be with her children.

Since then there have been other searches, including ones organized by Paul's sister in May and last October.

Another is planned for the fall, when the weather is cooler.

That search will likely be aided by drones for the first time. They are banned in national parks and Stephanie says that she and her support team just got permission to apply to use the drones.

A member of Stephanie's support team is in regular contact with the authorities in California.

"They say they'll never give up the search, but because it's been a year they say it's more if anyone finds something on the trail then they'll go and explore that spot, where somebody saw something," Stephanie said.

She says she wished the permission had been granted when the drones might have been more helpful.

Closure, Stephanie says, "would be nice."

"Finding out what has happened," Stephanie says.

"Sometimes I question whether things would have worked out differently if I had been with him, because you don't know what happened. Maybe something would have happened to both of us."