Lead suspect in Boise cold case murder moved to Washington prison

Lee Miller also faces second degree murder charges
Posted at 3:10 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 17:10:38-05

BOISE, Idaho — The lead suspect in a 1994 cold case murder, 54-year-old Boise resident Lee Miller, was moved to a Washington prison Friday.

Miller has also been charged with murder in connection to the death of a Washington woman. Detective Sgt. Kieth Sargent says Miller waived his extradition rights at his court hearing Thursday morning, so detectives escorted him on a flight to Washington the next day. Detectives say Miller was handcuffed and chained, dressed in street clothes, and was cooperative on the flight.

Over the last year, detectives with the Boise Police Violent Crimes Unit have been working with detectives from the Bremerton Police Department in Bremerton, Washington, in the investigation of two homicides. One homicide happened in 1992 in Bremerton and one happened in 1994 in Boise.

The years-long investigation resulted in Miller's arrest last week. Authorities say Miller was arrested in Boise on a warrant out of Kitsap County, Washington, and charged with murder in the second degree for the death of Bremerton resident Marilyn Hickey, who died in 1992. Miller is due for his first court appearance this afternoon, for those second degree murder charges.

Authorities say Miller is also a suspect in the death of 49-year-old Boise resident Cheryle Barratt. That case, cold for more than 20 years, was re-opened late in 2017 and has been worked as a cold case since then. In April, 1994, Barratt’s body was found in an apartment on North 6th Street. Her throat was slit, according to reports.

“This is a significant achievement for both the Boise Police Department and the Bremerton Police Department -- as we were able to use advancements in technology and coordinated investigative efforts to make strides in two decades-long investigations,” said Boise Police Sgt. Justin Kendall. “Our detectives have worked for years to make progress on these investigations -- to help find answers for our community and justice for the victims.”

On Wednesday, detectives from the Bremerton Police Department came to Boise and arrested Miller.

On September 10, 1992, the Bremerton Police Department received a call asking officers to conduct a welfare check at an apartment in the 400 block of Chester Avenue. Officers found Marilyn Hickey dead in her apartment. “The investigation showed Marilyn met her death by homicidal means. Evidentiary items were collected at the scene however after many active months, there were no arrests, and the case went cold,” according to a news release from the Bremerton Police Department.

In 2006, the case was opened and several pieces of evidence were sent to the state crime lab. The WSP Crime Laboratory was able to obtain a complete DNA profile and entered the profile into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). A check of CODIS did not return any person matches, however, the DNA did match the DNA in the other unsolved homicide case in Boise.

Detectives from the Bremerton Police Department worked with detectives from the Boise Police Department to identify Miller as the suspect with the matching DNA. Boise detectives were able to obtain a DNA sample from Miller and submitted it to the Idaho State Crime Lab. Further analysis confirmed the DNA from Miller matched the profiles from both unsolved homicides.