Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Georgia Jean Weckler was last seen on May 1, 1947 in Fort Atkinson. WI. It was raining the morning of May 1, 1947, so Georgia Jean didn’t ride her bike to school like she usually did. Instead, her mother, Eleanor, drove Georgia and her sisters Joanne and Laverne the one-and-a-half miles to Oakland Center School.
After classes ended at 3 p.m., Mrs. Carl Floerke dropped Georgia Jean off at the end of the lane leading to her family’s farm home. A neighbor and the mother of a fellow student, she saw nothing suspicious as the girl got out of the car. She saw the young girl get her family's mail and continue down a trail towards their home. Georgia Jean didn't make it up the driveway. The mail was never found.
A black Ford was seen backing down her lane toward State Highway 12. Georgia Jean was never seen again.
Her father, George Weckler, had been in downtown Fort Atkinson and did not arrive home until nearly 6 p.m. He called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office right away to report her as missing. It wasthought she had gone into the woods hunting for May flowers. The first night, a five-hour long search by a 200-volunteer party combed the 20-acre wooded tract that abutted the Weckler driveway. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were involved at the search. No trace of Georgia Jean was found, and no ransom was demanded.
Early on, authorities thought they might have had a suspect involved in the third-grader’s disappearance.
A Richland Center man, Buford Sennett, was serving a life term at the Waupun state prison for a different 1947 murder and kidnapping when he confessed to abducting
and killing Georgia.
However, he refused to sign the confession, changed his story several times and no concrete evidence was ever developed to bring up charges on the crime.
Sennett later recanted the oral confession.
In the confession, Sennett, then 22, claimed that he and another man had planned the kidnapping for ransom, but that Weckler died from an overdose of sleeping pills
while she was being held in a car parked in the woods near Richland Center.
He stated that on May 3, 1947, they dumped the girl’s body into the Wisconsin River near the Blue River bridge; however, no body was ever recovered in the search.
Sennett died in 2008.
In October 1954, Charles Edward McClelland, 25, who admitted to four other murders and was being tried in Nebraska for the death of a prison guard there, said he was involved in the Weckler disappearance. He said the girl was strangled to death and that her body was buried near a creekbed in Illinois. The area was searched, but no evidence was found. He later said he made up the story after reading about the Weckler girl in an Omaha newspaper.
Her father, George Weckler, died in 1956 convinced she was alive. Her mother, Eleanor, died in 1996 at the age of 93.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Jefferson County Sheriff's Department