A recent arrest in a 33-year-old cold case led to a reunion for a Harrisburg family on Saturday.
Thomas Waller was shot to death in Harrisburg in 1981. When police arrested fugitive Joseph Miller last week in Texas, the story made headlines and brought Waller’s daughter home.
Valerie Waller lost her brother 33 years ago, but today she got a piece of him back. As she waited for his killer to be found, she thought of his daughter, her niece, lost to their family.
“It’s a long time coming,” she says. “To finally, finally get to meet her.”
Thomas Waller’s daughter Tiffany Giles was adopted by her mother’s husband when she was young. Her mother made the decision to raise her separately. And Giles was a child when her father was killed. The murder also took the ties his family had to his daughter.
“I’ve been asking questions from the time I was 16,” Giles says. “I would break down about it all the time, and I just was like I needed to know, I want to know.”
Her mother wouldn’t give her her father’s real name; she just knew he’d been murdered in Harrisburg and his nickname.
Giles lives in Baltimore. When the cold case arrest hit the news this week, a cousin sent her a link suggesting it was her father.
“I just looked at [the photo] and I smiled, I blew it up a little, brought it in, tried to see some resemblance,” she says.
Her reunion with her aunt was emotional, after 33 years stolen from them.
“I did look for her, but, not having the information to find her was hard,” says Waller. “But I’m glad that she reached out to me. So it’s finally- my prayers have been answered.”
Giles also has a half-brother and many other relatives she’ll get to meet.