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'Somebody Knows Something:’ Family Enlists Private Investigator To Take On The Millbrook Twins Case
Twin 15-year-olds Dannette and Jeannette Millbrook went missing in 1990 and numerous questions have been raised about how the initial investigation was handled.
A new private investigator is hoping to crack the Millbrook twins case, the tragic 1990 disappearance of two young Georgia sisters, according to the girls' family.
Dannette and Jeannette Millbrook, two 15-year-old Black twins, vanished off the street near their home in Augusta, Georgia on March 18, 1990. While their disappearance marks one the only cases of missing twins in American history, their disappearance gained little media attention and some have questioned whether it was properly investigated. For decades, their family pleaded for help, but the case went cold. The case was reopened in 2013 after then-newly elected Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree took the helm, but answers remain elusive.
The 2017 podcast “The Fall Line,” as well as the 2019 Oxygen series “The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins,” examined if racism and classism played a role in how the case was handled. While both the podcast and the show cast a light on the case, the girls’ whereabouts are still unknown.
But a new private investigator aims to change that. Shanta Sturgis, Jeannette and Dannette’s sister, told Oxygen.com on Tuesday that private donors from a nonprofit group have helped them fund a new private investigator. She said it’s the first private investigator on the case, and that he’s been working it for about four months now.
A new billboard has also been put up in the area, advertising an $11,000 award for information leading to the whereabouts of the girls. The billboard directs people to a website where tips can be made anonymously. Sturgis said that donors for the billboard include local community members as well as listeners of “The Fall Line” podcast.
“Somebody knows something somewhere,” Sturgis told local news outlet WRDW. “We’re hoping that the more money that would be donated to the reward, somebody will just come out and say hey, even if it’s a little something.”
She hopes that the private investigator, who hasn't been identified but works with Paladin Private Investigation in Georgia, will help sniff out some clues.
“I applaud him for sticking it out because a lot of people that got in on the case, some of them bailed, some of them didn’t want to be bothered with it because it was so old,” she told WRDW.
While the family is keeping quiet about the details so as to not disrupt the investigation, Sturgis told Oxygen.com that the investigator has already uncovered some possible new information and new persons of interest. Furthermore, she hinted that cadaver dogs may be assisting in a search.
“He’s been searching some of the areas where they went missing,” she told Oxygen.com.
Sturgis said she feels “good” about the new private investigator and his research.
“He’s going to see this thing out to the end,” she told Oxygen.com. “He’s not going to stop. He’s basically going around and ruling people out, old pedophiles and rapists who were living in the area at the time.”
The family, while still hopeful, has been put through the ringer.
Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins” investigated whether mistakes were made in the initial investigation: the initial investigator on the case even got the girls' names wrong on the missing persons report, according to the Fall Line podcast. The original investigative records on the case were then lost, according to the Charley Project, an online database of missing people who have been gone for at least one year.
At some point, the twins were dismissed as runaways with little evidence, according to the Fall Line podcast. Then, the case was closed without the girls actually being found, according to both the Charley Project and the Fall Line podcast. Their names were removed from the National Registry of Missing and Exploited Children in 1993 after law enforcement reported they had been found, although their family said that simply wasn't the case.
"The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins" also explored possible persons of interest but no arrests have been made and no suspects have been named.