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Lacy Miller dead; man arrested

FORT COLLINS -There's a sad ending in the search for a missing Fort Collins woman. Police have arrested a 22-year-old man for the murder of Lacy Miller.

Her body has not yet been found, but police have recovered some of her belongings. They were searching the Larimer County landfill Wednesday for more evidence.

Lacy Miller's parents thank the public for their help

Fort Collins police issued a press release around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, saying they'd arrested 22-year-old Jason Clausen of Fort Collins for Miller's murder. He's charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. Police will not release a photo of Clausen until after he appears in a line up.

A Colorado Bureau of Investigation records check on Clausen revealed that he was arrested by Fort Collins police on Jan. 13 for felony trespassing, theft, and tampering with a motor vehicle. But he was released on bond just a few days before Miller disappeared.

Detectives searched the duplex on the west side of Fort Collins where Clausen lived. Neighbors said several young men lived in the house and started moving out over the weekend.

Miller was last seen dropping off a friend around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Her car was found parked down the street from her home, but her parent's say she always parked in the driveway. They said they are sure that their daughter did not know Clausen and they suspect he abducted her. "She would only have gotten out of the car if he was tricking her or he was in a position of authority, said Wendy Cohen, Miller's mother.

Police have searched Miller's car for evidence, and are still asking anyone with information about the crime to call them at 970-221-6895.

Police said they acted on a tip, which led them to Clausen. His relatives said he had recently signed up for the military and was supposed to report for duty Monday. Miller's parents were told he had been planning to leave town Wednesday.

Friends stopped by the Miller home Wednesday to offer sympathy and support. Yellow ribbons, symbolizing hope for Miller's return, were still tied on nearby trees. Miller's parents said they are grateful for all the help they have received from the community. "We are just overwhelmed and touched by how kind people are and how nice people are," said Wendy Cohen.

Clausen had been a youth volunteer with the Fort Collins Police Explorer Scout program from March 1998 to November 1998. The Police Explorer Scout program is for youth ages 16 to 21 who are interested in exploring the field of law enforcement. Explorer Scouts participate in volunteer activities such as traffic control for special events, crime prevention projects, desk reception or phone answering.

9NEWS will have more information about this case, as details become available.

Lacy Miller update, noon, Jan. 22, 2003.

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