It’s been a few years since there were any new updates on the case of missing girl Georgia Jean Weckler, so I was quite surprised when I saw a report about it pop up online yesterday.
If you’re not familiar with the case, or need a refresher, this is how it goes:
On the first of May 1947, in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, eight year old Georgia was dropped off on her driveway after school and never seen again.
The third grader had gotten a ride from a friend’s mother, Mrs. Carl Floerk, who had dropped her off at the end of a half mile-long driveway that leads up to her family’s farm between 3:15 and 3:30 after school was out. Georgia attended the nearby Oakland school with Floerk’s daughter who was two years younger than her. Usually Georgia Jean rode her bicycle to school, but that morning it was raining and too wet to make the 1.5 mile bike ride, so she instead got into her mother’s car with her siblings.
(Pictured above: part of the driveway and mailbox. Source)
I looked up the location on Google maps as it is now, which I located using a hand drawn map relating to the case which I found here.
(Location as it is now. Source)
(The map I used for reference- originally printed in the Milwaukee journal in May 1947. Source)
Mrs. Carl Floerk watched little Georgia ran up to the mailbox (at the intersection of Highway 12) and retrieved a handful of letters. This was the last time anyone would ever see her again. Since that day there has been an endless search and both her mother and father died without knowing their daughters fate.
The day she went missing she was dressed all in blue, with the exception of her pink sweater and floral headband. It was over three hours before anyone realized that the little girl was actually missing, as it had been assumed that she went to pick flowers from the surrounding land to decorate her May Day basket. Nothing had been left behind. Not a shred of evidence. Not even the mail she had taken from the mailbox. According to an article about the case that was published in the late sixties, the surrounding forests and land were searched thoroughly by 200 volunteers but the efforts turned up nothing.
The same article talks of a witness who claimed that he saw “a 1936 Ford car drive into the lane, then suddenly pull out and speed away.” This witness was working on the phone lines at the time.
(The lane. Source)
Georgia Jean’s Doe network profile states that witnesses saw a dark car in the area (described as a 1936 Ford Sedan). I found an article printed in the Milwaukee Journal naming the witnesses as local man Ernie Simdon who saw the car driving along highway 12 at around 3:40 and a teacher at local Ives school, Mrs. Twist, who saw the vehicle loitering around the school around ten minutes later. Apparently it drove off when she left the school to approach her own car nearby.
The driver was described on the Doe Network as a man in his early to mid-twenties with blonde hair and who he is or was remains a mystery. Tire tracks were noticed down the same lane that the girl went missing, around 150-200 feet from the highway. Some believe that Georgia may have been abducted by an opportunistic criminal who just happened to be driving by. One man seemed to fit the bill for the type of suspect detectives were looking for- a (then) 22 year old man named Buford Sennett.
Sennett had been convicted before (for rape) and was incarcerated at the time (on a murder charge) that he made a verbal confession to abducting and accidentally killing the little girl. Apparently he bundled the child into his vehicle along with two other men, with the intention of holding her at ransom, as he was aware that her father was well off. He claimed to feed her sleeping pills to sedate her, but she died of an overdose and he disposed of the body. Sennett never signed an official confession, however, and he is now deceased. He did lead detectives to where he claimed to have hidden the body on two separate occasions, but obviously no remains were recovered. Many doubt the legitimacy of his story.
In another article on the daily union site, there is an account of a man coming forward in the 1990’s about a strange incident he witnessed the same year that Georgia disappeared. He claimed to see two men burying a “child-sized” bundle in the ground around 25 miles from Jefferson County. Apparently police never followed up on the lead as they claimed there was no evidence linking it to the case.
Killer and body snatcher Ed “The Butcher of Plainfield” Gein was even a suspect at one point, but was later ruled out.
I think one of the most disturbing witness accounts is that of another local man, Sam Clement, who, around 3:30 or a quarter of an hour later, saw a car park at a traffic light with a man and woman in the front and a young girl in the back. He claims that the pair got out of the vehicle and began to walk away, when the child (still in the car) pleaded to be let out and said she wanted to go home. In response, the man returned to the car and either hit the girl or put something over her head. The witness claimed that other bystanders also saw it happen.
Detective Leah Meyer is now in charge of the 70 year old cold case and she too believes that Buford Sennett was responsible for the disappearance of Georgia. Meyer announced that she had received a recent tip detailing the location of Sennett’s old hideout, which was not a building nor cave in the woods, but a sort of “giant foxhole” which has naturally filled in over time.
She aims to organize a search of the foxhole and surrounding area in the hope that the remains of Georgia Jean will be recovered.
If you’re interested in reading more about this case, all articles are available to read on this website. I believe it was created by a family member.