East Hampton Native Missing, Family Says

William "Billy" Miller has been missing for at least two weeks, his family said. Courtesy of the Miller family

The family of William Miller, an East Hampton native better known as Billy, is searching for information about his whereabouts following a rumor that he had died. He was homeless, living in a tent behind a cemetery in Hampton Bays most recently, and is suffering from cancer, for which he was not receiving treatment, his family said. They have not heard from him in a week.

Samantha Schreiber, his daughter, said the search began after she saw a Facebook post late Sunday night referencing her father's death. Ms. Schreiber, who is deaf and lives in Pennsylvania, said by Facebook Messenger that it was difficult news to read, but worse because she has not been able to determine if it is true.

The family has called the Southampton Town Police Department and found they had no record of his death; the last contact they had with him was in December, his niece, Faith Miller of Hampton Bays, said. They have also contacted the hospitals in Southampton, Riverhead, and Greenport, but came up empty. "We even went as far as calling the M.E. office in South Carolina, who does not have him," she said.

Mr. Miller, 57, could be anywhere, though. "The only thing we know for sure is that he made a phone call about two weeks ago from a South Carolina number to a family member," Ms. Miller said. His daughter said he phoned an uncle from a Piggly Wiggly in Columbia, S.C.

The two had not spoken in a while; it is difficult to communicate because she is deaf and cannot take his phone calls, she said. "It's been about a year since I've seen him. My husband was talking to him, but that was months ago." He usually makes contact through other family members who can text her or send messages over the internet.

"It's a very upsetting situation -- I just want him found," Ms. Schreiber said.

She has filed a missing person report with NamUs, the national missing and unidentified persons system, a database that holds thousands of cases, though his name was not listed there as of Wednesday. (Cases are reviewed before they are posted.) The information clearinghouse and resource center provide law enforcement, medical examiners, forensic professionals, and families of missing persons a free resource. It is funded by the National Institute of Justice and managed by the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Tex.

Anyone with information about Mr. Miller's whereabouts has been asked to contact Faith Miller and Ms. Schreiber via Facebook until the NamUs listing is posted.