January 22, 2023 | By: Alekzander Jenkins
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida’s Applied Journalism class.
Jillian Miles loved being a mother to her two children. Dawn Miles, Jillian’s mother, remembers when her daughter first found out she was pregnant. “Once she got pregnant, she was in love,” Dawn said.
Jillian’s best friend, Sarah Beth McCoy, was at the hospital when Jillian gave birth to her son “She was probably the happiest I’ve ever seen anybody to be a mom,” McCoy said. “She was so ecstatic to be a mom.”
Jillian would soon welcome a daughter and her love and excitement about being a mother continued to grow.
Unfortunately, she never got to see her two children grow up. Jillian was murdered on February 19th, 2013. Neighbors reportedly heard gunshots and her body was found in her home in Dayton, Ohio, with her two children aged 2 and 1 nearby. Jillian had suffered two fatal gunshot wounds, and her murder remains unsolved.
From the time she was a baby, Jillian’s nickname was Jillpickle, a moniker given to her by her mother. Jillian grew up with two siblings: her brother Ryan and her sister Ame. Dawn said that sports were a part of her children’s lives. Jillian played softball as an outfielder. “She was a funny teammate,” Dawn said. “She would do silly things out there and still be able to play the game and have fun.”
Her longest friendship was with McCoy, who recalled meeting Jillian on the school bus in 2nd grade. “She was getting on the bus, and we realized that we looked exactly the same,” McCoy said. “We had the same haircut, the same uniform, and that started it all.”
Their similarities led to a lifelong friendship; McCoy and Jillian began sleepovers while still in grade school. As adults, McCoy said, their friendship grew and both would visit each other with their children, who were similarly aged. McCoy and Jillian would help support each other as mothers, with Jillian going to McCoy’s house almost four times a week.
Since her daughter’s death, Dawn Miles has stepped up to raise her two grandchildren. “I didn’t get a chance to grieve because I had to be strong for the kids,” Dawn said. “I’m no longer a grandma to them; I’m their parent.” Dawn keeps the photo books of her daughter so Jillian’s two kids can remember their mom.
McCoy continues to fight for answers, calling the police as much as she can so the case is not forgotten. “I share her information,” McCoy said. “We put her story into a couple of Facebook groups; they will share her story every now and then just to get some more people reading it.”
The death of her daughter has affected Dawn greatly.
“It’s been hard, it’s been very hard,” Dawn said. “I’m just stuck; I can’t bring her back; the last thing that I can do for my daughter is find out what happened and bring justice”.
Anyone with information on Jillian’s case is asked to contact the Dayton Police Department at 937-333-2677. To remain anonymous, and possibly be eligible for a reward, call the Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at (937) 222-7867.
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