The Girls Dannette And Jeannette
Dannette and Jeannette were, by all means, typical teenagers. The girls are interpreted as Black, with brown eyes and black hair, both styled into a Jheri curve hitting at about their shoulders at the time of their disappearance. On the day of their disappearance, Dannette was wearing a white Mickey Mouse shirt, white jeans, and a set of black shoes. Jeannette was wearing a blue pullover, a white turtleneck, a beige skirt, white stockings, and white sneakers.
The girls were fraternal twins, and glanced similar, though not identical and each had differentiating characteristics. Most notably, Dannette was defined as bowlegged, meaning her knees did not touch and had a tiny curvature, something that is not ordinary as kids typically grow out of bowlegs. (I feel of it as compatible to Madeline McCann’s eye, albeit much less specific to Dannette alone. Rather, it’s a physical trait that is tough to fake and, at least at the time, likely would have made her more identifiable than her sister.) In addition to this, there is a scar above the navels of both girls.
The girls had no record of running away or any indicators that they would do so. The only occurrence of note was very common for girls of this age. The twins went to different middle schools. Dannette went to a school that gave her more academic support than she had earned at the girls’ public school. In 1989, when the girls would have been about 14-15, a girl had reportedly teased Jeannette at the bus stop. When Dannette, interpreted in one article from American Crime Journal as the more prominent twin, found out, she confronted the girl, only to engage in a small battle with her. The girls were broken up by a police officer, who took their names. Nonetheless, no action was taken and the occurrence was written off as what it likely was, a squabble among children.
Disappearance Of Dannette And Jeannette
Early in the afternoon of March 18, 1990, a Sunday, the two girls went to a regional chicken restaurant for lunch. The trip was boring, save for the presence of a man in a white van observing them for a portion of their walk. They told this to their mum, but details are insufficient, and this man has never been recognized.
As the day continued, the girls decided to walk to a family friend (also their godfather) to obtain money for the bus trip to school the upcoming week. The girls earned $20 and had seemingly been given a bit additional to take snacks on their way home.
After this, they visited a cousin and begged her to walk home with them, but she wasn’t authorized to as it was getting close to 4 PM and night would shortly fall. Following this, they visited their sister and begged her to walk them home as well, only to listen no once again as she had just had a baby. The family would later deem it extraordinary that the girls had asked, more than once, to be walked home.
The last sighting of the girls would come from a clerk at a close gas station. The clerk was aware of the girls and remembered noticing them buying chips, candy, and soda. She didn’t notice anything extraordinary regarding their attitude, though she would recount glimpsing a car parked outside while they were there, although she couldn’t explain it. It’s unfamiliar if this car had anything to do with what occurred to the girls, particularly deeming that it was a gas station and there was possibly a lot of traffic.
After this sighting at the gas station, they weren’t noticed again.
The family, upon knowing that the girls hadn’t come back home, called to document a police report. They were told they had to wait 24 hours before documenting a report. The preliminary report has been lost, and the case was inexplicably closed just a year later, with no substantial developments. They were also eliminated from the missing kid’s registry. The reasoning for this has never been made public. The Millbrook family was allegedly told that the girls, 17 at the time of the closure, couldn’t be impelled to come back home and for that motive, the case was shut.
If I’m to be honest, the inquiry was ridiculously miserable. The girls’ last name and Jeannette’s middle name have been continuously misreported on missing person registries and the family was, at varied times, given ridiculous theories as to what occurred, such as the girls being discarded from the home and put into foster care where they were adopted. These errors and the very early and immediate closure of the case have made it almost unthinkable to get a good grasp on what, if any, leads were discovered, which in turn makes it very tough to even visualize what occurred.
The family was (rightly, in my opinion) angered by the lack of inquiry and mistakes in reporting by the regional sheriff’s office. To be blunt, the sheriff’s office didn’t look like to care enough about these two girls to put together a cohesive and thorough inquiry. The family’s assertion is among the only things that have kept the twins’ case active, repeatedly calling the sheriff’s office, pressing for different details. Mary Sturgis, the girls’ mum, told in one of the few full-length documentaries about the case (which I highly recommend – it’ll be linked in the sources!), “Police didn’t do nothin’.” The girls’ younger sister, Shanta (who had originally wanted to go with the girls that disastrous day but was rebuffed) said in the same special, “Anybody that was our color was a runaway.”
Unsurprisingly, there are limited, if any theories.
John Patrick Washington was a serial rapist and killer who was operating not distant from where the girls resided and expended time. Washington would kidnap, frequently shoot, and sexually assault women. He contended that an ex-girlfriend had contaminated him with HIV and his vicious assaults were an action to get back at women as a whole. His victim type did fit the girls’ description: young, African-American girls with short hair.
In 1993, the corpse of an African-American girl was discovered in South Carolina. The skeletal remains were utilized for facial reconstruction, and the family felt strongly that it could be Jeannette if the reconstruction is valid. Yet again, with minor reason, they were said no and the issue was closed. This young woman’s corpse has yet to be recognized. This corpse is doubted by some to be a victim of Washington, whoever she may be.
It’s crucial to note here that non-familial kidnappings are very unusual, and are even more so when more than one kid is involved. This statistic has left some to dispute the attitude of the girls’ father, John Millbrook. According to Shanta Sturgis, he had no actual interest in the inquiry and didn’t look like to want to discover them. He reportedly declined to talk to detectives when they did come around, wouldn’t give a family DNA sample, and instructed his other daughter to do the same. This could, of course, have been a way of bearing with the loss of his daughters: selecting not to entertain the impression that someone would hurt them. But, like most things, in this case, there’s no way to be certain.
In 2013, then-newly minted Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree reopened the case and disclosed the preliminary closure of the case, as well as the girls’ removal from registries. He conveyed a feeling to right the wrongs of his predecessors and make substantial progress. Nonetheless, the family has since conveyed that the motion hasn’t led to anything significant.
On a personal note, I found this case both heartbreaking and frustrating. It’s not confidential that non-white and less prosperous missing kids, especially teenagers, frequently receive less press coverage and police reserves than their white and prosperous counterparts, and this is an obvious example of bias impeding an inquiry and potentially losing a chance to keep these girls out of harm’s way. This case will probably stay unsolved because not sufficient people are minded to do anything about it at the time.