Left: Michael circa, 1989
Right: Age Progressed to age 37
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: June 21, 1989
Missing From: Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: May 14, 1975
Age: 14 years old
Height and Weight: 5’7″ and 125 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: African American Male, Black hair, Brown eyes, Michael has a scar on his left knee
NCMEC Number: 742642
Details of Disappearance
Michael was last seen in Brunswick, Georgia on June 21st 1989 with his older sister, Monica Bennett. They were last reportedly seen at Heritage apartments in the 5700 block of Altama Avenue.
At the time of their disappearance, Monica and Michael’s mother, Deborah George, was separated from her husband, Robert L. George. Monica and Michael were staying with other relatives in 1989. Monica was staying with her biological father and Michael was staying with Roberts first wife and his half siblings on his fathers side. Michael was born when Robert was still married to his first wife but he did not take his last name. His first wife treated Michael very well and accepted him into the family. Robert later divorced his first wife and married Deborah before having 4 other daughters.
Monica was said to be extremely close with her oldest sister, Shelia Wigfall, in 1989. She was no longer living at home but still attended high school classes at Glynn Academy, this is also where Monica and Michael went to school. Wigfall was married, pregnant with her first born child, and living with her in laws. Her and Monica talked to each other every day at school.
Earlier in 1989, Monica went to Shelia while there were at school and she told her that Robert was sexually abusing her. She also expressed her fear of going back home. Shelia took her to the schools guidance counselor who then brought them to the police. Deborah found out about the allegations and did not believe them. She believed her daughter was making up the allegations so she didn’t have to live at home anymore.
Robert has previously sexually abused other children. Years earlier, Deborah walked in on Robert sexually abusing her 13 year old sister. One of Monica’s sister even said that she caught Robert trying to sneak into her bedroom at night. She continued to not believe he abused Monica. Michael was close to Robert and also did not believe Monica at the time.
In the late spring, however, Michael walked in on Robert sexually molesting Monica. He told Deborah about what happened and she separated from Robert as a result. This is when Michael went to live with Roberts first wife and when Monica went to live with her biological father. Not much is known about him but Monica’s family said she would not have gone to live with him if she had a better choice. Deborahs children that Robert fathered continued to stay with her but saw him on weekends.
It should be noted that Monica and Michael went missing just weeks after Deborah and Robert separated. Robert decided to move back to Alabama, his original home state, even though he had just gotten an apartment in Brunswick.
There are reports that state Robert and Monica were helping Robert pack up his apartment in preparation for the move to Alabama on the day of their disappearance. These reports state that Michael and Monica went missing after Robert dropped them off at their mothers residence. Deborah said she had not seen her children that day.
These reports are also odd since Roberts apartment was almost completely empty by the day they disappeared, according to their siblings. By the day of their disappearance, Roberts apartment was almost completely empty besides some bedding and other things.
During the afternoon of their disappearance, Robert went to his ex-wife’s home to get Michael so he could help him pack. Michael did not want to go ans was seen crying as they left. Robert then went to get Monica from her fathers home as well. The three of them went to Roberts apartment complex together.
Their aunt also lived in the same apartment complex and just across the courtyard from Roberts apartment. The two teens made a surprise visit to her that evening before dark and also had something to eat at her apartment before she walked them outside at approximately 8:30 pm. She saw Robert outside as she did this.
Robert spoke with the aunt and asked her to contact Deborah so he could ask to come back home. As they were talking, Monica and Michael walked away. The aunt called Deborah on a pay phone and Robert spoke with her. Both Monica and Michael walked over a hill up ahead and out of sight. This was the last confirmed sighting of them by anyone besides Robert.
According to Monica and Michael’s 4 younger sisters, later in the evening Robert came picked them up from their mothers home. He was said to have driven around John’s apartment complex slowly while looking around. He reportedly didn’t call Monica or Michael’s names and he didn’t even ask any passerby if they had seen them. He then took his children to his apartment where some red flags rose.
One of the girls remembered that the sheeting and comforter from one of the apartment beds was missing and that two garbage bags were near the door. Robert claimed these bags contained Michael and Monica’s belongings and possessions.
Robert gave two inconsistent statements regarding their disappearance. He at one point said they ran out of his apartment while he was there and that they never came back. He also said that he dropped them off at the apartment and that he left to run errands and they were gone when he came back.
It should also be noted that the police report regarding their disappearance states that Robert called Deborah to tell her the children had disappeared. This is odd since Robert was in the phone asking to go home to Deborah at this time as said by the children’s aunt. Also, Monica and Michael were both in sight at the time mentioned above.
Within a few days of the Bennett children going missing, Roberts car disappeared as well. His children were never able to find out what happened to it. A few weeks later, Robert and Deborah got back together and took their remaining children with them to Alabama on a bus to move there. They left Shelia Wigfall behind in Georgia.
For 15 years, Michael and Monica were classified as endangered runaways with police and missing persons agencies. Police didn’t even start investigating the case until the early 2000s. In 2004, their cases were classified as endangered missing and police and their family believe other factors caused their disappearance.
Most family members believe Robert was involved in their case. Deborahs mother describes him as a manipulative, controlling, and violent person who would occasionally beat Deborah. The younger children also remember violent occurrences due to Robert. After the family moved to Alabama, Deborah was known to occasionally leave Robert but would always come back. She would leave her children in his care whenever she left.
Investigators believe that Roberts brother was also possibly involved in the disappearances or might know their fate. He was known to live with the family on and off for many years and Robert lent him money. Shelia also states that he sexually abused her when she was young and Deborah warned the other children to stay away from him.
Deborah and Robert both said the children simply ran away and that Monica had a boyfriend who was involved with drugs. The possibility that they ran away is disputed since neither of them took any money or belongings with them.
Michael and Monica remain missing. There’s been no sign of them since their 1989 disappearance. Foul play is suspected in their disappearances which remains unsolved.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Glynn County Police Department 912-267-5700