While doing some research for my book, I came across a small town murder, much like in the story I am writing, (Check it out in my pages section: Upcoming Book). I would like to share this story with you now, as no voice should go left unheard.
With a population of just about 400, in a small town called Montverde, Florida, a community where the residents felt safe to leave their doors unlocked, is rocked.
On April 8th, 1980 Georgia Jane Crews left her family home around 8:30 pm to walk to the convenience store, which was only about a mile from her home. She had planned on getting some snacks for a film she was planning to watch that night. Before Georgia left, she told her brother Toni, that she would be back shortly.
An hour passes and Toni becomes concerned that Georgia hasn’t returned yet. His first thought is that she had just gone to a friend’s house to watch the movie instead. But, after calling around, he would learn that no one had heard from her, causing him to start searching the neighborhood.
Parents, Mike and Linda, had been out setting up trotlines on Lake Minnehaha, as Mike was a commercial fisherman. When they returned home, they found Toni in a panic as well as a few of the neighbors helping to search for Georgia. The idea or mere thought that something bad had happened to her was completely out of the question. Many believed she was just somewhere close by. Another hour will pass before Linda calls the police.
Let me remind you that this is a small town of only about 400 people, so when I tell you that there was only one part-time police officer at Montverde, do not let it come as a shock to you.
When the police offier realizes the severity of the situation, he calls for help from the surrounding counties. By the end of that night, there were several officers from three different police departments, sniffer dogs (K9), and a helicopter all involved in the search for Georgia.
The K9 had been able to pick up on Georgia’s scent leading away from her house and then down a dirt road that went in the direction of the convenience store. Georgia had liked to walk baraefoot, and the police had found small bare-footprints at places along the road, giving them hope that they were heading in the right direction. Only after a short distance on the dirt road would the dogs lose Georgia’s scent as well as the footprints. At this point, the investigators believed she had gotten into a car; willingly or by force, it was unknown.
Night would grow longer and the sky would get darker. It was at this point that Georgia’s family realized something was wrong. Georgia had been scared of the dark, and would not have waked anywhere alone at night in the dark. It was certain that Georgia would not have run away from home. Just as she had told her brother Toni where she was going, she always informed someone of where she was going and always asked for permission if she was leaving their garden.
Midnight would strike. Over 100 residents alonside police were searching for Georgia. Police were also conducting door-to-door interviews, trying to gain some idea of what happened to Georgia. Lake Florentine would be searched by divers the following day. Police would follow up on sighting of several suspicious and unfamiliar cars that had been reported, none linking to Goergia’s disappearance. The FBI would enter the search a few days later, confirming the theory that Georgia had walked down the dirt road and then got into a vehicle by using tracking dogs. A helicopter was also used to search the area using heat sensing technology, but nothing would be found.
On April 10th, the Lake County Sheriff’s department, Georgia’s grandmother, and the Montverde police chief would receive a phone call from an anonymous caller, claiming that Georgia was dead. The caller would refuse to give any further information, and the police would be unable to track the call.
Six days after this phone call was received, they would find little Georgia’s body in Fern Park, Seminole County, by a family of four. The decomposition of her body would make it difficult for a visual identification, but through the efforts of the medical examiner and a bone spur on one of her feet, an identification would be made as well as the fact that Georgia was still wearing the clothes she was last seen in. She was found lying on her back, one leg tucked behind her back, a single stab woound in the back, the possibility that she was strangled also hasn’t been ruled out. Luckily there was no sign of sexual assault. This poor girl has been through enough.
Several clues were left behind by the killer, one such clue being that of a homemade metal cross necklace. Georgia’s family had never seen the necklace before which would lead the police to only one other possibility, it belonged to the killer. Several anonymous phone calls were made to the police, thought to be from the same person who told them that Georgia was dead. He had statedthat he knew who the killer was, but became nervous and mumbled things about their own safety, before hanging up. The police held a public press conference urging anyone with information to come forward and that their identity would remain secret. They urged the unknown caller to call them again and share any information, but the caller never called again.
Little Georgia’s voice can no longer be heard again, but through my website I bring her voice and her story to light. It could be through this necklace that was left on her body that they may find the killer. . The necklace had been made from two pieces of silver, that had been drilled and then welded together, before being attached to a silver chain.
Little Georgia’s life ended before she was given a chance to make her mark on the world. I wanted to give her voice a chance here on Voices, past, present, and future.