Twenty-five years after her 12-year-old sister was strangled to death and dumped naked at the side of a California highway, one woman is taking matters into her own hands to finally bring her sibling’s killer to justice.
Angel Turner was just seven years old when the decomposed remains of her older sister Georgia Lee Moses were found in a grove of trees off Highway 101 in South Petaluma, on August 22, 1997.
A coroner later determined the girl had either been strangled or smothered to death. However, the culprit behind her killing was never found and no suspects have ever been identified.
Georgia, whom Angel considered to be more of a mother to her than a sister, had last been seen alive by a friend nine days earlier as they walked to a gas station in Santa Rosa at around 10pm.
“She’d been over at that friend’s house when she got a beep on her pager and walked outside,” Angel told The Sun of her sister’s last-known movements.
“They walked to the gas station and Georgia got into a white car with a man, telling her friend that she was going to a party.
“And then everything that happened after that point is a complete mystery.”
It’s unclear if Georgia ever made it to the party. The man whose car she got into has never been found but was described by police at the time as a six-foot-two black male, with short hair, and aged between 25 and 30.
Angel said she believes Georgia may have fallen into sex trafficking, saying it’s her understanding from conversations with friends of her sister’s that the party she was going to was actually a sex party.
“Georgia told her friend that she didn’t want to go, but said she had to so she could take care of her family,” Angel said. “So that’s not just a comment you’d make for any regular party.
The Sonoma County Police Department has not yet returned a request for comment from The Sun, but in previous interviews investigators have refused to discuss Angel’s claims, citing an ongoing investigation.
Hours before Georgia would be seen alive for the final time, she paid her sister Angel one last visit to check in on her and braid her hair before tucking her into bed.
The sixth-grader, who Angel remembers as being wise beyond her years and having a “heart of gold”, had dropped out of school to care for her sick mother.
However, she moved out a few months before her death after getting into an argument with her mother’s boyfriend, who was a convicted sex offender.
“There was a situation in the March of 1997 when my sister went into her room and my mother’s boyfriend [name redacted] followed her in there,” Angel said.
“I heard all this yelling and the sound of things being thrown. It seemed like he was trying to be inappropriate. And he came out of the room and gave her this ultimatum, saying ‘well if you’re not going to follow my rules then you can’t stay here.'”
Georgia moved out soon after and began living with family friends, where she was reportedly required to pay rent out of her own pocket.
Still, Georgia would come over to her mother’s house each day to check in on Angel, asking her about how she was getting on at school and ensuring she had something to eat.
“I looked at her more like my mom than a sister,” Angel said. “She did everything for me. She was my protector.
“When we didn’t have anything to eat, she went and got food and did grocery shopping. If I got into trouble, she’d chastise me or bribe me to be good, telling me she’d take me to the candy store if I behaved.
“She was my constant,” Angel continued. “So while I didn’t know if my mom was going to be awake or lucid on any given day, I knew that at the very least if I needed anything, Georgia would always be there for me.”
A HORRIFIC DISCOVERY
Angel said felt as though something was wrong with her sister after Georgia failed to visit her the following day. When the day turned into more than a week, Angel began to wonder if she’d ever see her sister again.
It was seven-year-old Angel who first raised the alarm about Georgia’s disappearance on August 27, the same day her body was found, when Child Protective Services (CPS) stopped by her mom’s home to inquire about a potential sex offender operating in the area.
“CPS came to the house and I remember they had the police with them, and they took me outside and asked me some questions about my mom’s boyfriend, along the lines of ‘has he ever touched you inappropriately?’ and ‘has he ever made you feel uncomfortable?” Angel said.
“I was confused why they were asking me these things but not talking about my sister, so I asked them where she was.
“At the same time, across town, they were recovering her body.”
Georgia’s naked and lifeless body was discovered by a Caltrans worker fixing a broken guardrail off Highway 101, though she wouldn’t be identified for another four days.
In fact, her body was so badly decomposed that she had to be identified through her dental records.
Forensic work determined that Moses died from strangulation or smothering sometime between the night of August 13 and the morning of Aug. 14.
Almost no progress has been made in the investigation in the near quarter of a century since.
The lack of clarity over what happened to her sister, and who was responsible for her death, prompted Angel to launch her own investigation into the murder two years ago.
FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE
“The reality of what happened to Georgia honestly didn’t settle in with me until 2020,” Angel said. “God asked me to forgive her killer, and I was in a really, really dark spot because I was like, ‘wait a minute, someone brutally took my sister from this world and from me, and they have the never to be hidden all this time.’
“I was so young when it happened, so it took until that moment to really hit me that, not only is Georgia gone, but she’s gone because of somebody else’s selfishness.
“Someone chose to murder her, my sister who was so beautiful, and that’s when I realized she was never coming back.”
Angel said she went through all the stages of grief once again, including periods of denial, where she’d search for her sister on Facebook, believing she may still be alive out there somewhere.
But she eventually accepted the reality of her sister’s tragic fate and channeled her pain and frustration over her death into action to avenge her.
“My sister had a heart of gold,” said Angel. “For seven years, she protected me but I’m the big sister now. The roles have reversed and I’m now her protector.
“I have to take on the role and fight for her. I have to protect her memory, I have to protect her name, and I have to protect her legacy.”
‘TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT’
Angel has spent the last two years raising awareness about her sister’s case, buoyed by a swath of friends and former classmates of Georgia’s who’ve rallied around her in search of answers.
She has also routinely called on the Sonoma County Police Department, Santa Rosa Police Department as well as other law enforcement entities to give Georgia’s case the “proper due diligence” she deserves.
While progress has almost been non-existent since her sister’s death, Angel said she’s confident the killer – or killers – responsible will eventually be found.
“I just pray that, eventually, everything about my sister’s case will come to light, and we’ll finally have closure over what was done to her in her life and death,” she said.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t know how her case is gonna get solved. I don’t know if it’s gonna be any more unknowns. But I do know that God is with me in this.
“And so eventually, when people start realizing that their secrets aren’t so secret, they’re going to start feeling a little antsy and anxious and maybe someone will slip up.”
Speaking directly to the culprit, or culprits, Angel added: “You took a special part away from me when you took my sister.
“No matter how long you try to stay hidden, the truth always comes out eventually.”