Augusta, GA

33 years ago, two 15-year-old twins told their mom they were being followed. They haven't been seen since.

Fatim Hemraj
Jeanette and Dannette MillbrookPhoto byMeaww

15-year-old fraternal twins, Dannette and Jeanette Millbrook lived in Augusta, Georgia, with their mom, Mary Sturgis, and five of their six siblings. The twins were in the 9th grade at Lucy Laney High School.

On the morning of March 18, 1990, the Millbrook family went to church as they did every Sunday. Later that afternoon, Mary sent the twins out to get lunch from Church’s Chicken. When the girls returned, Jeanette told her mom that someone in a white van had been following them. Mary looked outside but the van was already gone. She didn't think much of it and assumed that the driver was simply headed in the same direction.

The Millbrook family had recently moved into a new apartment that was much more affordable, however, it was 3 miles away from the twins’ high school. Mary didn’t want the girls walking that far but she also didn’t have money to spare for the city bus. She suggested the girls ask their godfather, Ted, who lived in their old neighborhood, for some bus money.

The twins called Ted and he agreed to give them $20 — a week’s worth for the bus and a little extra for snacks. Dannette and Jeanette left their home at 3 pm to make the 3-mile walk to Ted’s home and never returned home. They vanished without a trace just 20 days before their 16th birthdays.

Later that evening, a concerned Mary called Ted wondering why Dannette and Jeanette hadn’t returned. He told her he gave the girls $20 before they left to visit their older sister, Aceander, who also lived in the area. Aceander told her mom that the twins seemed unsettled and asked her to walk them home. Aceander refused since she had just given birth days earlier.

From there, the twins went to visit their cousin, Juanita, who lived a block away from Aceander. Juanita told Mary that the girls asked her to walk them home but Juanita’s mother refused since it was getting dark out. Juanita last saw the girls as they headed in the direction of a nearby store.

At 4:30 pm, Dannette and Jeannette arrived at the now-closed Pump’n’Shop convenience store on the corner of 12th Street and Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard to buy soda, candy, and chips. The clerk, Gloria, knew the Millbrook twins as she was a family friend. She was also the last person to ever see them. Gloria said she saw a car outside but didn't pay attention to the make or model since she was busy ringing up another customer. When she looked up, the car and the girls were gone.

Mary tried to report the twins missing but was told she had to wait 24 hours. She called back 24 hours later but it took an entire week before investigator Jim Shipp was finally assigned to the case.

Jim went to Lucy Laney High School and spoke with some of the twins’ classmates. They claimed that the girls ran away because one of them had gotten pregnant and didn’t want to get into trouble. However, this was just one of many bizarre rumors that spread through the halls which, if you’ve ever been to high school, you know is common. Another rumor was that the girls took off because their mom had “too many kids.”

Jim also spoke with the high school principal who has since passed away. He told Jim he saw Dannette and Jeanette after their disappearance. He said he called out to them but they took off running in the opposite direction. Based on this statement alone, Jim closed the case one year later in April 1991 and told Mary that her daughters had run away.

It was clear that the girls were nervous or afraid of someone, considering they didn’t usually ask anyone to accompany them on the 1-hour walk. Despite this, Jim refused to follow up on the mysterious white van that had followed them home the morning of their disappearance and he never even bothered to speak with John Millbrook, the twins’ father.

John wasn't very involved in his daughter's lives but the twins visited him on occasion. John told Mary not to bother looking for them and said they had probably run off with a man. He refused to give a sample of his DNA and even tried to convince Aceander not to provide one as well. However, both Aceander and Mary provided DNA samples. So far, no Jane Does have matched the twins.

In 2019, Dannette and Jeanette’s younger sister Shante who was only 12 years old when they disappeared stated, “He [John] basically didn’t even want to be involved in the girls’ case. He didn’t even want my mom looking for them. We’ve been trying to find out for the longest why didn’t he want to be involved. These are your daughters. Why wouldn’t you want to look for them?”

The Millbrook twins’ barely received any media attention and it seemed as though no one really cared that two 15-year-old girls had seemingly vanished into thin air. It wasn’t until 2013 that the case was finally reopened. Unfortunately, John can’t be interviewed as he is now in a care home for Dementia patients

In 2019, Jim Shipp doubled down on his belief that Dannette and Jeannette ran away. Mary denied the possibility stating, “They weren’t the type of girls that stayed out like that, they always went to school and when they got out of school they came straight home.” Now 67, Mary is still searching for her daughters 33 years later stating, “As long as I live, I’ll still be waiting.”
Age-progression photos of (L)Dannette and (R) Jeannette Millbrook at 39 years oldPhoto byNCMEC

Today, Dannette and Jeannette Millbrook would be 48 years old. If you have any information, submit a tip here. A $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone with knowledge of their whereabouts.

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