Family holding out hope for return of missing teen Julia Mann who disappeared from Georgia home in February
Ten weeks have passed since 17-year-old Julia Mann disappeared from her family’s home in Georgia on the evening of February 20, 2020. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” Julia’s mother, Terrie Clark, told Dateline. “We love Julia and we just want to know that she’s OK. We’re so worried.”
Julia was last seen by her grandfather around 10 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 just before she went to bed at her family’s home in the area of Rocky Branch Road in Watkinsville, Georgia. By the next morning, she was gone.
Julia’s cell phone and laptop were also missing. But neither has been used since she disappeared. Authorities with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office told NBC affiliate WXIA that all indications were that Julia left home alone and of her own accord. But because her cell phone and social media accounts have not been used since she went missing, investigators said they are concerned for her safety.
Julia’s mother said that it’s possible that she decided to sneak out for the night and meet a friend, but said she does not believe the teen intended to stay away this long.
“She took so little with her,” Terrie said. “And she would never stay away and not tell anyone. There’s no indication to me that she ran away.”
One sentimental item left behind was a keychain, which was a gift from Julia’s 5-year-old sister, Olivia.
“Julia is crazy about her little sister,” Terrie said. “She would never leave her. It’s heartbreaking. Olivia keeps asking for her. And I don’t know what to say.”
Terrie, who lives in Dunwoody, Georgia, near Atlanta, with Olivia, told Dateline they were planning to move to the house in Watkinsville. But in order for Julia to start school, she was already there living with her grandparents. Terrie said that in the past, Julia had struggled with perfectionism with school. But since starting at her new school in January, Julia seemed happy and Terrie believed this would be a fresh start for her.
“She had just registered for senior classes for the next year, was doing really well in school and was making friends,” Terrie said. “She had been organizing her new room and was excited for us to join her. Things were just going really well for her.”
Terrie described Julia as sweet and creative with a great sense of humor. An intelligent student who did well in school, Julia was interested in computer programming.
Terrie said Julia loved playing Wizard101, an online role-playing game. She’s worried that Julia might have met someone online who possibly lured her away from home.
“We just don’t know what to think,” Terrie said. “We have no idea where she could be.”
In the days following Julia’s disappearance, investigators with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, along with other agencies, have performed searches on the ground and in the air, and sent K-9 units to canvass the area. But they have not found any trace of Julia.
Terrie told Dateline the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically slowed the search for her daughter.
“I’m worried she’ll be forgotten,” Terrie said. “We’ve been living this nightmare since February and now with coronavirus, everything has stalled. And it’s just a scary time out there right now, that I’m even more worried.”
In March, Sheriff Scott Berry announced an increase in the reward for Julia’s safe return from $10,000 to $20,000. He recorded a Facebook video encouraging Julia to reach out to him or a trusted family member if she saw the news or his video on social media.
But after 10 weeks and still no trace of Julia, Sheriff Berry told WXIA that investigators are concerned that Julia has met with harm.
Her mother said she is worried that someone is keeping her captive and hurting her.
“We’re terrified,” Terrie said. “We just want to know if she’s safe. That’s all that matters. I’m never going to give up looking for her.”
Julia is described as being about 5-feet-3-inches tall and weighing about 100 pounds. She has blonde hair but her mother said it’s possible it could be dyed a different color. She also has several ear piercings.
The sheriff’s office did not release a description of what clothing Juliawas wearing at the last time she was seen, but her mother believes she was wearing a lightweight puffer jacket and blue two-toned Vans, which are the only shoes missing from her room.