Cold Case: Woman’s Missing Father Died as Tower Bridge Hero in 1987

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SACRAMENTO -- James Wray Miller wasn't always a good guy, but he died a hero.

"Everybody said he had such a good heart, was a very good person. But when he drank, it was different Jim," his daughter, Kristine Feldhaus, told FOX40 on the phone from Ames, Iowa.

She was 3 years old the last time she saw her dad. She has clearer memories though of the FBI coming to look for him after he was accused of robbing a bank teller at gunpoint for a little more than $2,000.

Miller went on the run.

"If he was alive, I wanted him to know that he had grandkids," Feldhaus said.

And in the digital age, she found a tool to find him -- NamUs -- the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Since 1987 the Yolo County sheriff had been looking for a hero, an unidentified man who jumped into the Sacramento River at the Tower Bridge after a drunk bridge operator lifted the platform in error.

A pickup full of three people went into the water because of the mistake and the unidentified hero went in after to save them -- but he died.

Years ago the Yolo County Coroner entered what information they had about that man into the NamUs database, having no idea that a bank robber from Iowa was their unidentified hero.

"She’s like, 'We found your dad.' And I was like, 'Glory be,'" Feldhaus told FOX40. "I don't know, it felt really good. But it was also just like, I was just really proud of him."

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