In a small town, everybody knows everybody.
Which means someone knows who killed Jim Miller.
“He was a very, very humorous person, he loved to tell jokes, make people laugh, loved to have a good time,” recalls Miller’s widow, Vickie.
July 17, 2017 will mark 7 years since Jim Miller was murdered.
"It turned my world upside down, every day I'm looking for an answer,” said Vickie.
Miller was chairman of the Monroe County Election Commission. He was a well-known businessman and farmer.
The night of his death, he was working on the early election in town. Vickie remembers their last phone call.
“He had so many things he had to do that day, but he said 'I'm going to come home and rest awhile,'” said Vickie.
"I kept waiting, kept calling, calling all afternoon, couldn't get ahold of him."
Jim never came home.
On the other side of town, another call went out — a 911 call. Drivers had seen horses loose in the Sands Road area of Monroe County. A deputy was sent to check out the strange situation.
“When they arrived, they observed what looked to be smoke and a fire, and there was a vehicle on fire,” explains Investigator Calvin Rockholt with the 10th Judicial District Cold Case Task Force. “The fire department pried the trunk open and determined there was a body inside.”
Miller had been shot 3 times before his body was burned. Investigators believe he was lured to a separate location, killed there, and then transported to the backcountry farm road.
“It was the most dreaded phone call I had ever had,” said Vickie. “You don't know how many times I've retraced the directions he could have gone according to the stories I've heard. Trying to piece together what was going on. And in my mind I do have, I just feel like I know."
In the small town, it would become a challenging search for truth.
“Anytime you're in business, that's politics. You make enemies,” said Sheriff Tommy Jones.
Jones was a K-9 sergeant at the time who helped search the area. It’s a case he now wants solved on his watch.
“When you have a crime like this occur, you have a lot of stories then you have to see what stories is and what truth is,” explained Jones.
In 2012, Jessica Kennedy was convicted for her role in the death of Miller.
Detectives say it’s a crime she couldn't have committed alone.
“Jim was a very large man. It would be hard, in my opinion, for a female her size to get him into the trunk of a car,” said Jones.
Kennedy blamed the murder on several others, including Boonie Stokes and Brandon Steele. Prosecutors could never prove those men played a part. They are now in federal prison on other crimes.
Passing time adds difficulty, but now investigators feel they are closer to the truth.
“Every day makes it more of a challenge, but it's possible,” said Jones.
“We are just a little shy of probable cause to make an arrest,” said Rockholt, the investigator.
It’s an arrest Miller’s widow waits for.
“You just have to ask God to help you and you'll make it,” said Vickie.
It’s an answer to a lingering mystery that the small town deserves.
“These cases they weigh on you heavy every day, we know the victims' families pretty well in a county like this. We want justice for them,” said Jones.
10news also spoke with Miller's daughter, Michelle. She is eager to see a resolution in her father's case come quickly.
If you know anything about this case, you can call the 10th Judicial Cold Case Task Force at 844-878-9580.
Any small detail could help the death of Jim Miller be solved.