Crime & Courts

‘She Was Ready To Leave Him’: Mica Miller’s Sister Speaks

Anna Francis details her family’s struggle for justice in the aftermath of her sister’s death …

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In the months leading up to her suspicious death, Mica Miller was determined to leave the man who had allegedly tormented her for years. 

“She was ready to leave him and be strong, and do whatever it took,” Mica’s younger sister Anna Francis told me this week.

That assessment is consistent with what Miller’s friends have previously said … and with what she herself said in videos posted to social media in the days and weeks prior to her untimely passing.

In Anna’s first interview following the supposed suicide of her sister, she provided insight into the Francis family’s ongoing fight for justice in the aftermath of what they maintain was a disappointing and incomplete investigation conducted by the Robeson County, N.C. sheriff’s office

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To recap: Mica’s body was found at 4:23 p.m. EST on April 27, 2024 at North Carolina’s Lumber River State Park – a sprawling 14,000-acre wilderness straddling this scenic blackwater river.  Mica had traveled to this remote location from Myrtle Beach, S.C. earlier in the day. Her body was discovered by police in a swampy area approximately forty meters from where shell casings and her belongings were recovered. 

Mica Miller died less than two weeks after filing for divorce from her husband – pastor John-Paul “JP” Miller of the Solid Rock at Market Common church – and less than 48 hours after he was served with divorce papers.

Miller’s death was officially ruled a suicide following investigators’ assessment of the scene – and the release of a 9-1-1 call she placed prior to allegedly shooting herself in the head with a gun she purchased only hours earlier. On that call, Miller calmly told a police dispatcher of her plans – and inquired as to whether her phone could be tracked so that her family members would be able to locate her body. But after the bizarre manner in which her husband announced her passing to their congregation – and subsequent allegations of abuse raised by Mica Miller’s family and friends – suspicions of foul play have run rampant.

In fact, Mica’s family has insisted her body was “placed” where it was found by police – and that her suicide was “staged.”

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BREAKING FREE …

According to Anna Francis, John-Paul Miller’s control over her sister began when she was a 16-year-old whose life was spiraling out of control. The Francis family began attending Miller’s church in 2010 not long after moving to Myrtle Beach, but according to Francis it wasn’t long before her parents “saw (JP’s) narcissistic behavior on the stage.”

They decided to move to a different church – a decision Francis said John-Paul was determined to utilize to his advantage.

After the family left the church, Francis said John-Paul Miller began isolating Mica from her family by convincing her to live with members of the congregation. He also allegedly told the teenager her family members were “not good Christians” and “not good for her.” This was the beginning of the family’s divide with John-Paul and the root of “our problems with him and our family.”

“He’s tried to divide our family since we left the church,” Anna Francis said.

As the years progressed, Mica would come and go from their lives depending on “what John-Paul’s narrative was,” according to Anna.

“If you didn’t speak positively about John-Paul in any way, you (were) not allowed to be near Mica whatsoever,” she said. “Brainwashing came up every single week in our family. That word came up every single week on like, how do we fix it? What do we do? And it came to the point where we didn’t even say anything for probably a year. We literally just let her do whatever she was going to do because we couldn’t control it anyway.”

According to Francis, John-Paul Miller has shown patterns of control “throughout their relationship whenever she just needed a break.”

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Solid Rock at Market Common. Monday, May 6, 2024. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Andrew Fancher.

RELATED | EXPLOSIVE ALLEGATIONS LEVELED AGAINST SOLID ROCK PASTOR

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When Mica would tell her husband she was going to spend time with her siblings, John-Paul “would take that as them getting too much space away from each other.” According to Francis, before Mica finally decided to leave Miller for good in February, he would always have a tracker on her her phone so he knew her location. After she left him and got a new phone he couldn’t track, Francis said “he always had a tracker on her car.”

“He’s been tracking her for years,” she said.

When Mica was finally able to break free and spend some time alone with her sister, Francis said he would send her a message by shutting down her phone or deactivating her credit cards.

“He completely can freeze her whole entire life,” Francis said. “If she doesn’t do what he says, he literally has controlled her whole life from his cell phone.”

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“She ran away from him … she was trying to get away from him.”

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The breaking point for Mica was in February of this year when John-Paul had her committed into a mental hospital against her will by telling the police and the counselors at the mental facility that she was trying to kill herself.

“She actually ran away from him,” Francis said. “She was trying to get away from him.”

Francis said after she was released from the hospital, the first few days were the toughest for her sister. Coming to terms with years of abuse and control by telling those closest the truth was difficult, but even then she pleaded with those in her trusted circle to keep things quiet. According to Francis, the pleas were not out of shame but because her sister wanted “to protect the Christian church.”

Francis understands Mica’s concerns even more acutely now.

“Every, every single person that has found out what he’s done, make comments like, ‘that’s why I don’t go to church. That’s why I’m not a believer in God’ and all these things.” she explained. “And that’s the least thing that that’s the last thing that Mica would want.”

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DOCUMENTATION AND PREPARATION …

Francis said her sister knew she was heading into battle and had began arming herself by documenting years of alleged abuse at the hands of her husband. After Mica was released from the mental health facility, John-Paul refused to return her phone, computer or purse. So, Mica started over again with vigor, collecting evidence, affidavits – even reporting the church her husband ran to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

That report to the IRS was made the week she died, Francis said.

Mica also documented the harassment and stalking she endured after making the decision to leave her husband, including reporting him placing multiple tire deflating devices on her car. After her sister’s death, Francis said an investigator asked them if John-Paul had threatened Mica’s life in any way. Her brother responded, “absolutely. If someone left a tire different deflation device on my car, and I’m going 60 miles an hour down the road and one of them goes out, that’s a car pileup that could get multiple people injured.”

No one took it seriously, though, according to the Francis family.

“All the police … all the police that she reported it to, they never took her seriously,” Anna said. “They just wrote down what she said.”

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THE AFTERMATH …

According to Francis, it became clear immediately after Mica’s death that John-Paul was going to continue trying to exert control over her sister. Before the family even had time to grieve her sudden loss they were thrown into “fight mode” after receiving a text from Miller around midnight the day Mica died. The text bluntly informed them of what happened – and that they were allegedly to blame.

“This is what happens when you try to encourage something to divorce the person they love and tell them they don’t need medicine and that they’re not ill when they are,” John-Paul Miller wrote. “Good job francis family.”

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Text messages between pastor John-Paul Miller and the family of his late wife, Mica Miller. (Provided)

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When it came time for the Francis family to view Mica’s body – to say goodbye to her for the last time – Anna said the antics continued. The family arrived at the funeral home only to be told by Miller he would only allow them that privilege if her parents signed a form consenting to her body being cremated, telling them, “either we don’t see her and we don’t get her ashes because he was gonna figure out a way to get her cremated anyways.”

“So our parents hands were tied,” Anna said. “My mom said it was the hardest thing that she’s ever done and her cries, I can still hear her cries in my ears.”

Francis said her mom cried for “ten to fifteen minutes because she didn’t even physically have the strength to even sign that paperwork before everyone could see her.”

“We were all just sitting in the lobby, waiting for my mom to have enough strength to sign to go to the office and sign the paperwork that she was to be cremated,” Anna recalled.

Anna said it was important to her for people to understand that “even after she passed, John-Paul still had control over her.”

When I asked if she believed he was extending his control over Mica to her family, Anna agreed.

“That’s what he gets pleasure from,” she said. “Why else would he do it? Why else would he still put us through this? Why, what else? Why else would he steal?”

When they finally were able to view Mica’s body, Anna said they immediately saw “bruising all over her hands and her arms.”

Francis said she asked the North Carolina medical examiner who first declared her sister’s death to be a suicide about the bruising.

“He said ‘what bruises?’” she recalled.

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LOOKING FORWARD

Anna said John-Paul Miller has left them with no choice but to fight for their beloved sister – and for changes that will keep others from going through what Mica and her family have endured. She said the upcoming court battles to ensure they have control of Mica’s estate have brought with them mounting legal costs. The family finally decided to begin a GoFundMe campaign to ensure they can continue to advocate for their sister.

Their goal goes beyond the battle for justice, according to Anna.

“Not only does it help us win these cases, because we have money to keep fighting, it’s that we’re basically, essentially fighting for her estate,” she said.

Anything that remains – or is gained – would go towards causes they know Mica would have supported including proposed legislation to ensure no other family endures what they have … Mica’s Law.

“I think it had to come to this,” Anna Francis said. “I really believe that if she didn’t pass away, and this much attention happening, then he would have never been held accountable for any of his actions. He would just live like nothing ever happened.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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1 comment

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The Colonel Top fan June 3, 2024 at 8:18 pm

What new ground are you covering here?

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