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Eyes on Houston: Texas EquuSearch Goes Hollywood

HOUSTON – NBC is working on a new show based on a local charity organization with a well-known Hollywood screenwriter and producer.

Screenwriter Todd Komarnicki, who wrote the script for the movie "Sully" and brought it to the screen, is now focusing on one of Houston's own heroes: Tim Miller, founder of EquuSearch.

The movie "Sully" is the story of the pilot Chelsey Sullenberger, who accomplished the seemingly impossible when he landed a jet in the Hudson River, saving the lives of everyone aboard.

Miller founded EquuSearch 16 years ago to look for the missing and the lost.

"If you're writing about a living figure, you better get it right because they're going to see it, read it. They're going to know. Sully was all over that," Komarnicki said.

For Miller, the desire to create EquuSearch was born out of his own tragedy -- the abduction and murder of his own daughter, Laura.

"Texas EquuSearch has been a leader in finding missing people for so long. Somehow, despite the story getting out there in the news, the real story hasn't been told about Tim Miller and the heroics he brings to this city and this world every single day," Komarnicki said.

Volunteers respond on a moment's notice to search. Sometimes, the discovery confirms a family's worst fear; at other times it results in a joyful reunion. And there are cases, such as the search for Natalie Holloway, in which nothing is found.  Miller remembers them all.

"When I started EquuSearch, I made that promise to God and to Laura I'd never leave the family alone. We've done the best we could at that," Miller said.

He's been approached by producers before, but for reality TV shows documenting actual searches. He always said no, fearing it would affect cooperation from law enforcement, and most of all, the families of the missing. Then came Komarnicki's proposal of a dramatic series based on Miller and EquuSearch.

"I put Tim Miller right next to Sully and say, this is a guy who every day, you trust with your family and you trust is going to make you a better person," Komarnicki said. "He's studying what we see on the news, the searches on behalf of families who want closure, and what we don't see the private side of its founder."

"Even if you're not telling an actual case, if you're doing a fictional story of a case, you still have to be true to the mechanisms of research, how the searches really work and how Tim works on the inside," Komarnicki said.

Tim said yes to the idea of a series, not for himself, he says, but for EquuSearch so that it may generate more leads and more support for its mission.

"I don't consider it entertainment because it's not entertaining for me. I think the goal on this, again, is we've got another new resource to help in the search for missing loved ones," Miller said.