After 19 months of searching, Louwana Miller was desperate for any clue as to where her daughter, Amanda Berry, could possibly be. “Tired of unanswered questions from authorities,” said the original 2004 story in The Plain Dealer, “Miller turned to a psychic on Montel Williams’ nationally syndicated television show.” It was here that Sylvia Browne stated simply and confidently, “she’s not alive, honey. Your daughter’s not the kind who wouldn’t call.”
With those words, the story goes, “Browne persuaded Miller to accept a grim probability” that her daughter had, in fact, been killed.
Yesterday, however, Berry, along with Gina DeJesus, was found alive after having been missing for an entire decade. “On a recorded 911 call Monday,” reports the Huffington Post, Berry exclaimed "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."
Apparently, this was not Browne’s only major slip-up. “In 2003, Browne incorrectly told the parents of missing teen Shawn Hornbeck that their son was dead, and his body could be found somewhere near ‘two jagged boulders,’” explains ABC News. “Nearly four years later, Hornbeck was found alive, and Browne was widely criticized in the media for causing the Hornbecks additional grief.”
Unfortunately, Miller died in March 2006 after being hospitalized for months for a number of ailments. “She had spent the previous three years looking for her daughter, whose disappearance took a toll as her health steadily deteriorated,” reports The Guardian.
Now, Browne is being ridiculed by many, who are horrified by her mis-predictions. A website, entitled StopSylvia.com, is dedicated to her demise as a trustworthy source. “Is she a fraud, making money by callously manipulating and using the bereaved? Or is she something else entirely?" reads the opening page of the website.
Brad Garret, a former special agent with the FBI and ABC News consultant said that “alleged tips from psychics rarely help solve a case,” reports ABC News. "As far as finding a victim, finding remains, finding evidence or in any way helping to solve the case, it's never been my experience," says Garret. "So, it's really a disservice to victims."
Lieutenant Dave Parker of the Anchorage, Alaska Police Department agrees. "We've never had a psychic lead that turns out to be correct," he says.
Social media sites have blown up with controversy surrounding Browne. Twitter user Chris McBriarty, for example, tweeted "Psychics make me sick. Here's an example: Sylvia Browne told Amanda Berry's Mum (now dead) her daughter was dead.” Other social media users have made various remarks about Browne’s involvement with Berry’s case.