Friends Question If Veteran’s Death Could Have Been Prevented

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DES MOINES, Iowa --Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the death Richard Miles but they also question whether his death would have been prevented.

On Friday, police discovered the 41 - year - old's body partially frozen in Water Works Park. Authorities say his death is not considered suspicious but according to his friends, Miles was suffering from issues that likely led to him taking his own life.

Miles was in the Army and deployed to the Middle East three times. Friends say he was proud to serve in the military and claimed it only had positive effects on him. However, Harry Aller realizes his friend may have been quietly dealing with severe depression for years.

"According to a text from him a week and a half ago, Richard was looking to spend sometime in the hospital to work things out. That was the last time I spoke to him," says Allers.

Miles visited the V.A. Hospital numerous times and was treated with medication but he wanted long term hospitalization and evaluation. Allers says, "He [ Miles] did seek out that help and went through the appropriate channels he knew to follow, unfortunately it's our belief he was let down with the assistance he was given which potentially led us to where we are today."

Police reports show Miles disappeared at the beginning of the month but ended up returning home last week to seek help. Friends say when he did not get the help he was looking for, he disappeared again. A short time later, police found Miles dead.

"Ultimately, Richard made his decision but I think the decision should have been easier for him to give him a different option," say Aller.

He plans to meet with leaders at the VA hospital to discuss accessible mental illness heath care.

In the midst of his struggle, Miles, was a familiar face the Science Center of Iowa. He developed and presented astronomy exhibits.

Science Center of Iowa, President and CEO, Curt Simmons, remembers Miles as joyful, curious and highly valued employee. Miles began working at the science center in college.

"He was a great presenter he helps take complex science ideas and not just make them understandable but make them fun," he says. "He just had this youthful exuberance about learning and he loved sharing that with folks."


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