As Derrell Miller was leaving his mom's house on Arch Street in the late afternoon of Oct. 21, 2013, he turned to her and said he'd see her later.
"And then, we ain't heard nothing from him. I called his cell phone, left him messages on Facebook, I texted him and I didn't get a response and that's not like him," Gwendolyn Brooks said Thursday in her living room on Shafer Street.
It's been a year now, and there's still no word on what happened to her son, who was 22 on the day he disappeared. "Even if his phone's dead, he'd charge it just to call me back."
Miller — also known as "Smizzy Smoke" — is 6-foot, 2-inches tall, 225 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes, and tattoos on his neck.
Greece Police sent out a notice last October that they were seeking the community's help in finding him, but there have so far been no major breaks in the investigation.
Brooks and Miller's four siblings and other family members have been diligent about getting out in the community to make sure he isn't forgotten. They keep putting out fliers — even though, Brooks said, someone keeps pulling them off the telephone poles — and they released balloons on his birthday and on Father's Day. On Tuesday night they held a vigil at School 20 on Oakman Street, near where Miller's car was found by police last year.
"He was a family person, he loved his family and loved being around his kids, his brothers and sisters, his grandmother," said Brooks. Miller has two sons and two daughters, now living with their mothers in Florida.
His family is convinced he was abducted and killed, but they still want to know for sure.
"My son wasn't perfect, but at the end of the day he was still my son," said Brooks. "He was my son, somebody else's father, and somebody's grandchild. My son used to be out on Clinton, you know. And I never asked what he did on the streets because I didn't want to know, but I feel like if he didn't disappear, if something didn't happen to my son he would have found a way to get back to me so something had to happen."
Brooks said although she and family members have been turning over anything they hear about Miller's disappearance to police, she feels authorities aren't doing enough by investigating the case as a missing person, not a homicide.
"It feels like they put my son on a back burner and it's supposed to go away," she said. "But I'm not going to go away and I will never stop looking for my son. I will always be out there, and you will always see his face because I will be doing something, all of the time. His face will always be out there."
Anyone with information about Miller is asked to call Greece Police at (585) 581-4021 or 911.
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