LAKE JACKSON — Her Pawpaw always called her “Georgia” growing up, but she didn’t know why back then, Cody Mills said.
Her mother, Aaron Irby, later told her it was because she had her Aunt Georgia’s green eyes. Mills had never met her aunt, Georgia Marguerite Allen, who went missing four years before her birth.
Georgia Allen, 23, finished her shift as a waitress at the Holiday Inn on Highway 332, now the Clarion Inn in Lake Jackson, at about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 6, 1972. She walked back toward her home at Jackson Square Apartments, now Treasure Bay Apartments, according to Facts reporting at the time, and disappeared
She’s been considered missing with foul play feared since that date, Brazoria County Sheriff’s investigator Clint Lobpries said, and the only person of interest was her husband, who died in 1996.
Lobpries took charge of the case in January of this year, after a web sleuth thought a Jane Doe body found in Manvel in 1990 might be Georgia’s remains. DNA proved the remains did not belong to Georgia, but that reignited some interest in this case that has remained active through the decades, he said.
After her Pawpaw died without knowing his daughter’s fate, Mills set out on a mission to uncover what happened to the aunt she never had the chance to meet.
Georgia Allen was born on Jan. 6, 1949.
Short and slender with green eyes and blond hair, she was a great artist and played flute in the Brazosport High School band, her younger sister, Dixie Matlock, said.
The family is registered Cherokee and it was Georgia’s dream to go to art school in Oklahoma, Matlock said.
Sometime around her junior year at Brazosport High School, she met David Allen, her friend Barbara Owens said.
“None of Georgia’s friends liked him because he was controlling,” said Georgia’s sister, Aaron Irby, who was 12 when her big sister went missing.
Georgia and David got married shortly after their 1967 high school graduation and had a son and daughter together.
Georgia confided in family and friends David abused her and tried to kill her, Irby said.
Less than a month before she disappeared, Georgia told Owens he had threatened her with an old pistol, Owens said.
After five years of marriage, Georgia filed for divorce on June 5, 1972, court records show. Records show she had requested custody of her children and moved into her own apartment, Lobpries said.
The last people to see Georgia when she got off of work that morning were David and a friend or possible boyfriend named Charles Corsentino, both of whom are deceased, Lobpries said.
According to original case files and statements from the two men, the three of them had a discussion outside the Holiday Inn which ended with Georgia walking toward her apartment directly behind the hotel, the investigator said.
At about 9:30 a.m. Aug. 6, 1972, David told investigators he went to Georgia’s apartment to check on her, but she didn’t answer the door and he didn’t have his key, so he went to the apartment manager’s office to be let in, then didn’t find Georgia there, Lobpries said.
Apartment workers later told investigators they didn’t remember David asking for a key that morning, Lobpries said.
When Corsentino got off work that afternoon, he told investigators he went to check on Georgia and found David sleeping in her apartment, Lobpries said.
Corsentino checked all the places he thought Georgia might be, Lobpries said, later telling investigators that David acted casual and said Georgia had run off before.
Georgia’s father, Bert Smith, and his wife reported her missing to the sheriff’s office Aug. 11, he said.
Evidence found in Georgia’s apartment included a red spot on the wall that dripped down to the baseboard, according to the case files.
There was an unusual substance, possibly cotton and matches, in the garbage disposal, Lobpries said, and no evidence that she left town by choice.
“There’s no way she would’ve left her kids,” Owens said.
David hired a lawyer a couple of months into the investigation and stopped talking to police, Lobpries said. Without a body or much evidence, it’s extremely difficult to make an arrest, Lobpries said.
On Oct. 13, 1972, Georgia’s 4-year-old daughter received a package in the mail which contained a box of gumballs, some costume jewelry and a 14-karat gold necklace with a locket, he said.
Family and friends think Georgia never would have given up her locket or her car, which David had after her disappearance, Lobpries said. Investigators believe someone other than Georgia sent the package, he said.
The gumball box remains in Georgia’s case file, but the family received the locket, Lobpries said.
A court granted Georgia and David’s divorce Jan. 23, 1973, after she did not show up in court, and David got custody of the children, according to the documents.
Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Kincheloe has reviewed most, if not all, cold cases in his files, he said. Since the records from 1971 began, he estimates there are about 15 cold cases within them, Kincheloe said.
He often gives cold cases to investigators to see if there are additional opportunities for forensic testing thanks to advances in technology, Kincheloe said.
As DNA testing became more available, investigators sent the stamp from the package to the University of North Texas for testing, Lobpries said.
Lake Jackson police started a NamUs — or National Missing and Unidentified Persons System — profile for Georgia in 2007 after speaking with a family member about her disappearance, Lobpries said.
Lake Jackson police initially looked into it but turned it over to the sheriff’s office after realizing that department had an active investigation file, he said.
The profile has DNA that could be matched if remains are ever found, Lobpries said.
“That’s the ultimate goal, that’s what we all hope for,” Lobpries said.
Lobpries believes there are people still alive who can say what really happened to Georgia.
Some have been interviewed, including some more than a decade after David died, Lobpries said. They include David’s widow, who he married in Oct. 1973 and a daughter who they had together, who both told investigators he had told them of Georgia’s death. His stories to each differed, according to what they told investigators after his death.
The daughter died since speaking to investigators, but the widow might have more information, Lobpries said.
The disappearance was almost unbearable for Georgia’s mother, Lyla Smith, Irby said. She could barely say Georgia’s name.
“My mom was never the same after that. She just shut down,” Irby said.
Bert Smith’s obituary in The Facts on Nov. 27, 2016, stated his daughter, Georgia Smith Allen, preceded him in death, yet both of Georgia’s parents died without officially knowing what happened to their daughter.
Mills has made it her mission to find out.
“It’s what my grandfather wanted,” Mills said. “It’s the one thing.”
Owens gets just as upset about Georgia’s disappearance now as she did back then, she said.
“She was my very best friend,” Owens said. “We’d known each other since before we ever started school.”
The girls lived in Oyster Creek, where they enjoyed riding horses, she said.
She thinks about her twice each year, on her birthday and the anniversary of when she went missing, along with any time she hears “Georgia” used as a name, Owens said.
Though they might be able to get more information about what happened, there’s no way to get justice this many years later, Matlock said. It’s also unlikely they’ll ever find remains, she said.
Mills hopes that the case is still taken seriously 47 years later and that someone who has answers will speak up.
“I’m not looking for justice, for somebody to go to jail,” Mills said. “It’d be nice, but (the main suspect) is dead. I just want to finish what Pawpaw didn’t get to do.”