Missing twins’ family to fundraise for reward in 1990 case
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — After two Atlanta podcasters recently brought awareness to an Augusta family’s struggles on finding missing twin sisters Dannette and Jeannette Millbrooks, they are now looking to the community for support to raise a reward for the 1990 case.
Shanta Sturgis, one of the twins’ younger sisters, said the family is hoping to raise $3,000 to fund a reward, which will be matched by Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, for more information into the twins’ case.
Podcasters Brooke Gently Hargrove and Laurah Norton launched The Fall Line on June 13 looking into the missing girls’ case and the family’s struggle to find answers.
The 15-year-olds went missing March 18, 1990 after they left their Cooney Circle home to collect money from their godfather for bus fare. The girls were reported to have stopped at their older sister’s home and a nearby Pump-n-Shop gas station and convenience store before they disappeared.
The case was closed a little over a year after the teens went missing when an investigator falsely reported that the girls were found.
After talking with Sheriff Richard Roundtree at a meet-and-greet event, Sturgis’ family was invited to meet with the sheriff to address mistakes made in the case and other concerns.
During that Aug. 25 meeting, Sturgis said the family was able to correct the spelling of the twins’ last name and their accurate birth dates.
Sturgis said the sheriff promised that the office would reach out to those who could have additional information about the case. This includes people who saw the twins the day they disappeared and their father.
“Nobody that saw them that day, outside of their godfather, was questioned,” Sturgis said. “So (Roundtree) said they are going to start from day one.”
In addition to a renewed investigation, Sturgis said the sheriff also promised to follow-up with DNA testing for possible suspects that may be associated with the case. This includes the possibility of the case being linked to that of Joseph Patrick Washington.
Washington was sentenced in Richmond County Superior Court to 17 consecutive life sentences in 1995 for a slew of criminal convictions stemming from the abductions and sexual assaults of five women, three of whom were shot but survived, between 1991 and 1993.
He also faced a death penalty trial for the slaying of Marilyn Denise Kelly who was found nude and shot to death near Columbia Nitrogen Road alongside Loretta Dukes. Although Washington was suspected in Dukes’ death, he was not indicted for lack of evidence and died in prison in 1999 before the trial started.
After assuring the family of the investigation into the case, Sturgis said the sheriff offered to match whatever funds the family can gather for a reward.
Hargrove and Norton, who released a special episode — entitled “Hope” — outlining the family’s meeting with the sheriff Monday, have begun reaching out to local businesses and organizations to secure pledges for a small reward “of a few thousand dollars” for more information into the case.
Last week Angela Harden, a radio talk show host and community activist, shared her interest into the twins case.
Harden, who has been active with prayer vigils and a rocks campaign drawing awareness to the case of missing Augusta teen LaTania Janell Carwell, said there’s an active fundraiser to place a billboard of Carwell, the Millbrook twins and others who have gone missing in the area.
“It makes us hopeful because now we have the sheriff on our side,” Sturgis said. “And now that it’s out there we have people that may know what really went on here with our family.”
Individuals interested in donating to the Millbrook reward fund can give at https://www.youcaring.com/dannetteandjeannettemillbrook-936822.
Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com