Home » Monica Bennett, 15: She & Her 13-Year-Old Brother Vanished In 1989
This is a case I initially came across when I first launched Our Black Girls, and it continues to weigh on my heart. The story involves two siblings—15-year-old Monica Bennett and her 13-year-old brother Michael—and it centers on how they both went missing from Brunswick, Georgia, on June 21, 1989.
The Family Tree
The siblings shared a mother, Deborah George, who was married to Robert George, Michael’s father. Things get tricky here: when Michael was born, Robert was reportedly still married to his first wife, so the baby wasn’t given Robert’s last name. The first wife was accepting of Michael and was said to have welcomed him into their home. Later, Robert divorced his first wife and married Deborah, and they would go on to have four daughters together. Michael maintained a good relationship with Robert’s ex-wife.
Monica has an older sister named Sheila, and they were reportedly very close. Although Sheila was still in high school like her sister, she had married, moved out of the family’s home and in with her in-laws, and was pregnant by 1989. The sisters may not have lived under the same roof, but they could see each other daily in school. It was sometime in early 1989 when Monica made a startling revelation—the teen told her sister that Robert, her stepfather, had been sexually abusing her. She feared returning home and said she did not want to go.
A Mother Ignores The Accusations
In turn, Sheila told a school counselor, and they called the authorities. When Deborah spoke with police regarding the allegations, she told them she believed her daughter was lying. Surprisingly, that was the last anyone spoke of the accusations with authorities, and police did not check in with the family in the future.
Deborah’s reaction to Monica’s claims would shock most, but The Charley Project reports she allegedly had a habit of ignoring concerns about her husband. One daughter caught Robert attempting to sneak into her room, and Deborah walked in and found him m*lesting their 13-year-old daughter. Even brother Michael refused to believe that his father was a predator because they were very close. However, when he saw Robert sexually abusing another sister, he couldn’t deny it any longer.
Michael Defends His Sisters
Once Michael told his mother about the abuse, she finally decided that it was time to end the marriage. Deborah and Robert separated, but neither child stayed with their mother. While it wasn’t a preferred option, Monica Bennett moved in with her biological father. Michael went to live with Robert’s first wife, and the remaining children continued to live with Deborah. Michael saw them on the weekends.
Immediately after the separation, Robert got himself a new apartment in the city. Yet, he soon decided to relocate to his home state of Alabama. By June 21, 1989, Robert was nearly ready to leave his old home behind. His apartment was almost empty aside from necessary last-minute items. It was on that day when Robert picked up both Michael and Monica from their prospective homes.
The Last Sightings Of The Children
Michael made it clear that he didn’t want to be with his father to the extent that he cried in defiance. The alleged plan was for the siblings to help Robert move, so the teens were taken to his apartment. Their aunt also lived in the complex, so the teens stopped by. She would later tell authorities that they had dinner at her home, and it was around 8:30 p.m. when she saw Robert waiting for them outside. She watched Monica and Michael leave.
The aunt took a moment to speak with Robert, who pleaded with her to convince Deborah to take him back. She gave in and called Deborah on a pay phone, and Robert got on the call to speak with his estranged wife. The aunt told authorities that as Robert was on the phone, Michael and Monica walked up and over a hill until she couldn’t see them anymore. After the call ended, Robert followed the teens. That was the last time she saw the children.
What happened to the trio after that is a mystery. Robert would go on to tell multiple stories regarding what he did later on that evening. He said that Monica and Michael ran out of his apartment at one point, and he didn’t know where they were. However, he also claimed that he had to pick up a few things, so he left the teens at his apartment. He said once he returned, they could not be found. In another tale, he dropped them off at their mother’s home and didn’t know what happened to them once he left.
The Sisters Tell Their Version Of Events
Another story is said to have come courtesy of the police report. It states that on that phone call near the aunt’s home, Robert told Deborah that Michael and Monica were already missing while still with him. Yet another version of the night’s events was told by the teens’ younger sisters, who shared that Robert came to their mother’s home and picked them up. He drove around the city, seemingly looking for something or someone because he was driving slowly. The sisters reportedly said that Robert never directly called out for Michael or Monica and did not specify what he was looking for.
He took the girls back to his apartment, and one noted two trash bags near their father’s door. He told his daughters that they housed Monica and Michael’s belongings. Sheets and a comforter were also missing. Days later, Robert’s car mysteriously disappeared, as well.
Soon, within weeks, Deborah and Robert were back together, and the remaining family members packed up to move to Alabama. There have been speculations about Robert’s alleged involvement, but there are also discussions about Robert’s brother. Sister Sheila told authorities he sexually abused her when she was younger and lived with the family periodically.
Holding Out Hope
In 2017, the teen’s grandmother, Evelyn Bell, Deborah’s mother, was asked by reporters if she thought Michael and Monica were alive.
“I want to say ‘Yes,’ but something says, ‘No.’ Somebody knows something. They’re just not talking,” she said.
Reports state that the turmoil in Robert and Deborah’s marriage continued in Alabama. The children complained of violence in the home. Deborah was said to have repeatedly left her husband only to return.
Although Michael and Monica were reported missing in 1989, police filed their case as runaways. Authorities failed to adequately search for the children under the guise they left home of their own accord. In the early 2000s, investigators gave the paperwork another look. It was then that the teens were considered “endangered missing,” and their names were entered into the government’s missing person database in 2009.
What To Know
At the time of her disappearance, Monica Bennett stood 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. Her ears are pierced, and her middle name is “Renita.” Her DNA is reported on file. Monica would be around 50 years old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Glynn County Police Department at (912) 554-7800 or their local authorities. The agency case number is 890021957.
Please share this story about Monica Bennett and her brother, Michael, to help reignite the investigation into their case. She is our sister, and her life matters.[via][via][via]
Help Publicize This Case:
Journalist. Activist. Storyteller. •OurBlackGirls.com •@OurBlackGirls on IG, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Spotify Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, & Anchor FM