Podcasters Laurah Norton and Brooke Hargrove focused on the cold case for the first season of their podcast The Fall Line. Their investigation led them to look into John Millbrook, the twin’s father, and his associates, according to the Oxygen special “The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins.”
Millbrook, who is still alive but currently suffers from dementia according to the show, has a criminal past. He went to prison for helping to dispose of a body in 1996 after an associate, Ernest Vaughns, killed a man, Jermaine Burris, according to court documents.
Just three weeks later, Vaughns shot another man, Alfonzo Williams, because it was believed that Williams knew too much about the Burris’ murder, according to court documents. Vaughns was convicted of murder for both deaths and sentenced to life in prison.
Hargrove wrote to Vaughns and asked him if knew anything about what had happened to Jeanette and Dannette Millbrook. He responded on Oct. 7, 2017.
“You’ve asked a few questions in which I don’t mind answering, but what if I told you that I know where you might could find them? Can you help me? As you may already know, I’ve been incarcerated for 22 years and just come up for parole.”
Hargrove said that she didn’t want to bungle the investigation, so she passed on the letter to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and followed up with them.
“I called begging for them to look. This family has been waiting for answers, months are passing, and that was two years ago. And nothing has been done,” Hargrove told former prosecutor Laura Coates and former homicide detective Page Reynolds, who are looking into the case for “The Disappearance of the Millbrook Twins.”
During the production of the show, Vaughns agreed to speak to Coates and Reynolds by telephone about the day the girls went missing.
He told them that when he was 12 years old, he sold drugs, and the people he worked for used John Millbrook’s house as a base of operations.
Vaughns said he was present when the Millbrook twins were at the house, and the girls were drinking and smoking weed. Men started sexually assaulting one of the twins and the other girl stepped in to intervene.
“One of them dudes hit her … I guess she fell, and she hit the table, that is. I think she bust her head open on the table,” Vaughns told Coates and Page in recorded audio that is part of the Oxygen special. “I don't think them girls alive after that.”
Coates and Reynolds took what they knew to Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree. He pledged to do what he could to help solve the case.
“You guys have given us more in the little time we’ve spent together then they’ve had in 30 years,” Roundtree told Coates and Reynolds. “If it takes me interviewing him that’s something I’m more than willing to do. If it takes me traveling to interview this individual, that’s something that will happen. I will keep you right in step with where we are.”
Roundtree did assign new investigators to the case who did interview Vaughns at Dodge State Prison in Georgia. But the outcome of that interview is unclear. Investigators told producers that while they’ve corroborated parts of Vaughns’ account, they believe he is describing a different crime and they did not find his account of what happened to the twins credible. They are declining to investigate the lead any further. No one has been charged with any crimes associated with Jeannette or Dannette Millbrook.
Gina Tron contributed to this report.
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