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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Tom Vilsack said Thursday that his review of actions of state officials in the case of a slain 5-year-old girl showed there were "no objective signs" that the girl was in danger and that every possible precaution was taken.

Vilsack said he spent time Wednesday reviewing the case file collected by Department of Human Services officials in the Evelyn Miller case, seeking assurances that officials had taken every step possible to protect the child.

"Let me tell you from a review of the file, and I looked at every document that was given to me, I did not find anything in the file that suggested or indicated to me that this child was at risk," he said.

The child disappeared from her Floyd home earlier this month, and her body was found in the Cedar River. State officials have confirmed that DHS officials had been contacted about the little girl, and Vilsack had pledged to personally review the case file.

While he declined to discuss many details of the case, the governor said he was satisfied that officials acted quickly and took seriously tips they received about the child.

"What I saw was a department that responded almost immediately," Vilsack said. "I don't know what else could have been done in this particular case, based on the file that I reviewed."

Vilsack said officials had received tips about the girl over a four-year stretch, but he declined to set a specific number or to detail what was reported.

"I did not find from my review of the file, information that would have or should have led to any additional action on the part of the human services department," he said. "What I did find was a series of investigations and reviews by the department which led to the conclusion that there were no objective signs or indications of trouble."

Vilsack said there also was no action taken by anyone to alter custody arrangements or visitation of the child. Her biological parents did not live together at the time of her disappearance.

Only one tip given to officials required further investigation, Vilsack said.

"That led to the conclusion that this was a little girl who was playful and active," he said.

The investigation into Miller's death is continuing. Her death was ruled a homicide, but no arrests have been made. Vilsack said that's the frustrating part of the case.

"There are obviously a lot of questions that all of us would like to have answers for," he said. "It is often difficult to predict evil."

AP-CS-07-14-05 1614EDT


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