Georgia Lee Moses would have turned 36 years old this week. She might have gone to college. Raised a family. Had a successful career. But she never got the chance.
In August 1997, Georgia’s short life ended when she was just 12 years old. Her younger sister, Angel Turner, was only seven years old at the time, but her memories are still fresh and vivid.
“She practically raised me,” Angel told Dateline. “She took care of me, she cooked for me, she loved me. She embodied what a mom was, and she did it effortlessly.”
Georgia Lee MosesJustice for Georgia Lee Moses Facebook Page
Georgia wasn’t a typical 12 year old girl. Her family and friends remember her as an old soul, caring and responsible. Whether it was protecting a classmate from bullying or taking on the task of caring for her ill mother or looking after her younger sister, she did it without complaining.
At the time, Angel was living at a foster home, and Georgia, who lived with their mother in Santa Rosa, had been staying at a family friend’s house, always made sure to check up on her younger sister.
“She would come over and braid my hair,” Angel told Dateline. “She always did my hair. She came over that night… the last night she was seen. I begged her to take me with her. She said she couldn’t, but that she would come back for me. She never did. That was the last time I saw her.”
That night was the night of August 13, 1997. Angel told Dateline that she later discovered that Georgia and a friend had been hanging out when Georgia received a page on her pager and called the number back.
Sometime later, the friend walked Georgia to a gas station near the intersection of Sebastopol Road and Dutton Avenue in Santa Rosa, where the friend said Georgia left with an unidentified man. It was the last time she was seen alive.
More than a week later, on August 22, 1997, a Caltrans worker fixing a broken guardrail off Highway 101 in Petaluma, California, discovered the body of a young girl in a grove of trees. But she wasn’t immediately identified.
On the same day, back in Santa Rosa, Child Protective Services (CPS) paid a visit to Angel’s foster home. She told Dateline that they inquired about her sister.
“Eight days had passed since I saw my sister,” Angel said tearfully. “I knew something was wrong because she always came to see me. So at seven years old, I was the one who had to report my sister missing.”
According to Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sergeant Juan Valencia, Georgia had been strangled. Her body was so badly decomposed that she had to be identified through dental records. The coroner listed August 13, the last day Georgia was seen, as her date of death.