Remembering Gwen Vivian Miller

Gwen Vivian Miller/RCPD

Photograph RCPD

Gwen Vivian Miller (Nov 4, 1907 – Feb 29, 1968) was murdered inside her home in Rapid City, South Dakota. She was 60 years old. She never married and had no children.

Gwen worked as a hospital pharmacist at the Bennett-Clarkson Memorial Hospital (now Rapid City Regional) in Rapid City.

Her colleagues went to her home when Gwen didn’t show up for work on Feb 29, 1968. They were afraid that she was sick. Gwen had diabetes.

She was found in bed and it looked as if she had died in her sleep. There were no signs of a struggle. When police arrived, they saw that the back window of her home had been smashed.

An autopsy showed that Gwen had been raped and strangled. Evidence was properly preserved and with modern technology DNA was retrieved. Forensic genealogy then gave police the lead that they coveted since 1968.

Eugene Carroll Field is responsible for Gwen Miller’s murder. Probable cause exists to arrest Field for first degree murder, however, Field passed away in 2009. Field (Feb 18, 1943 – June 18, 2009) had not been on the police radar as a suspect in this case before.

Eugene Carroll Field worked as ticket agent for Western Airlines at the Rapid City Regional Airport. He had rented a room in the house next door from Miller for some time back in 1963. His two ex-wives told police about abuse by Field. Field’s brother gave his DNA to police for comparison with the DNA found on Gwen. The certainty of a full sibling match was 99.23%.

On Find-A-Grave it is mentioned that Field was a previous resident of Peshastin, owner and operator of Ingalls Creek Lodge, and was survived by his daughter Tanya Field, and brother Gary Field.

The Rapid City Police Department has now closed Gwen’s murder file, and cleared the case by exceptional means. Law enforcement agencies must meet several criteria before a case can be ‘cleared exceptionally.’ The agency must

  • identify the offender,
  • find sufficient probable cause to arrest and charge the offender, and
  • encounter a circumstance outside the control of that agency that prohibits an arrest and charging of the offender.

The most recent developments in this case are the work of the RCPD’s Cold Case Unit. The unit was formed in 2014. It consists of one part-time detective: Retired RCPD Detective Wayne Keefe.

Rest in peace Gwen Vivian Miller.

Note: Hat tip to Pennington County 911 dispatchers who alerted me to the case and provided the photograph. Thank you all for serving!