A GoFundMe campaign has been started for the family of Paul Miller, the Guelph man who disappeared while hiking in California 12 days ago.
Family friends started the GoFundMe page on Sunday and as of late Tuesday morning it had raised $15,000 of the $100,000 goal.
“We wanted to create this page to try and help the family out and remove the financial pressure. His wife has so many other things to prioritize right now,” said Ainsley Otten, who started the GoFundMe account with her husband Mark and other close friends.
Paul, 51, went for a hike in Joshua Tree National Park on July 13, taking one last quick hike on a trail before he and wife Stephanie headed home from their vacation, a celebration of their 26th wedding anniversary.
He never returned and searchers have found no trace of him to date.
“He was the main breadwinner in the family, supporting his wife while she went back to school to become a teacher, and we just wanted to help her out and raise enough money for a year or so,” Otten said.
Paul is a material’s manager at a Guelph company and the couple have two grown children.
Otten said his salary will likely end soon and insurance money could be a long way down the road.
Ainsley’s husband and Paul worked together and Paul was the best man at the Otten’s wedding.
Nobody has given up hope of Paul being found alive.
“There’s always going to be hope until there is an answer at this point,” Otten said. “Paul is a fighter.”
Search efforts, which at one time involved over 100 people, ATVs, canine teams and two helicopters, have been scaled back due to a heat wave that hit the area that made it unsafe for searchers.
“We totally understand that. We all know Paul wouldn’t want anyone else put in danger,” said Otten, who has been the unofficial media spokesperson for the family during the ordeal.
“We’re hoping for cooler temperatures so the search can resume.”
A situation involving the Miller’s rental car in California has been resolved, at least on a financial level.
The Miller’s were being charged daily for the vehicle despite the situation and frustration had mounted. Hertz Rent-A-Car recently rescinded the charges and issued an apology for the situation.
Otten said they are still not happy with the way the situation was handled on a customer service level.