George Erick James
Missing – November 23, 1998 – Millbrook, AL
George Erick James, one of five boys born to Tillis James, vanished under mysterious circumstances in November of 1998, leaving his family desperate for answers. Over two decades later, the search for those answers continues.
Tillis James, trapped in a marriage marred by abuse, yearned for a different life for herself and her children. As a single mother raising five boys, Tillis faced an arduous journey, juggling multiple jobs and occasionally grappling with homelessness. Nevertheless, fate took a turn for the better when Tillis and her sons relocated to Montgomery. It was there that Tillis crossed paths with John James, a compassionate man whose love and support brought stability and contentment to their lives.
Despite finding stability, George and his brothers faced the typical challenges associated with a difficult upbringing, occasionally leading to trouble. George’s life took a troubling turn when he and Ian Kasper, a young man he’d befriended in middle school, seemed to become entangled in a gang and criminal activities. George and Ian were arrested on multiple occasions, shedding light on Ian’s dangerous character and his potential to harm both the community and witnesses involved in their cases.
Tillis shared her account of the events surrounding their arrests, highlighting George’s resistance to accepting blame for actions he did not commit. This resistance angered Ian, leading to threats against George and his family.
Navigating the legal system proved to be another challenging chapter in George’s life. Although details about his 1994 charges were confidential, he pleaded guilty to charges received in 1996 and was sentenced to serve concurrent 7-year sentences on the charges. Believing there was an error in the calculations, George and Tillis sent multiple letters to the court seeking a correction, ultimately resulting in an order rectifying the sentence calculations and George’s release in 1998.
George’s incarceration was no walk in the park, and Tillis recalled the time she’d received a phone call from the warden notifying her that George had been severely beaten, resulting in his hospitalization and subsequent transfer to a different facility. Tillis shared the brutal attack was in response to George’s refusal to participate in gang-related activities while in prison.
During his time in prison, George manage to complete his GED, scoring high enough to obtain a scholarship from Auburn University Montgomery upon his release according to Tillis. Determined to turn his life around, George secured a job in construction and temporarily moved back in with Tillis and John, intending to provide for his young daughter. However, tragedy seemed to follow George as gang members continuously dropped by to make threats. These threats made George fear for his family’s safety.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, George and Tillis had a sudden confrontation just before Thanksgiving in 1998, causing him to storm out of the house with all of his belongings. Filled with desperation, Tillis and John initiated an exhaustive search, relying on witness reports and gathering clues. Witnesses came forward, stating that George had been spotted at a restaurant in Montgomery with a woman named Robin and, surprisingly, Ian, just days after his departure from Tillis and John’s home. According to witnesses, George was believed to be heading to Florida for work.
Months later, George’s abandoned car was discovered on the second exit ramp in Evergreen, AL. A gas station clerk who worked nearby remembered seeing George using the payphone before returning to his car on foot. Speculations circulated that someone might have given George a ride afterward, although such claims were never substantiated. According to Tillis, a state trooper had George’s car towed to a junkyard, and by the time investigators located the car, it was too late. Regrettably, the junkyard had ceased operations, and George’s car was never recovered.
Over the years, Tillis and John remained dedicated in their search for George. However, in 2020, the James’ family was hit with another tragedy when John lost his battle to cancer.
Frustrated with the lack of progress from authorities, Tillis continues her relentless pursuit of answers. Now on investigator number 17, the Montgomery Police Department’s handling of the case has left her feeling uninformed and abandoned. Despite the setbacks, she remains determined, fueled by a mix of frustration, anger, heartbreak and an unwavering desire to find her son.
George’s disappearance remains an unsolved mystery, leaving Tillis and her family yearning for closure. In their question for justice, they urge anyone with information to come forward, hoping that their unwavering determination will lead to the truth.