Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Larry George

Real Name: Larry Donald George
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: March 1988


Details: At 8pm on February 12, 1988, Geraldine George, a twenty-seven-year-old mother of two, returned home from work. She was dropped off by a coworker in front of her apartment at the City Court II Apartments in Talladega, Alabama. She had been separated from her thirty-two-year-old husband, Larry George, for six months. He had a history of violence against her. Despite a restraining order, he had continued to harass her. He was a former army-enlisted man who considered himself a survivalist. During his military career, he was careless and disobedient, having little regard for authority. That evening, his obsession with Geraldine would turn deadly.
When Geraldine returned home, she went inside her apartment and dropped off her purse and some items she brought home from work. She walked next door to her neighbor's apartment. She had become friendly with her next-door neighbors, twenty-nine-year-old Janice A. Morris and Janice's boyfriend, twenty-four-year-old Ralph Swain. Janice had two young children of her own and had agreed to take care of Geraldine’s children while she was at work. Geraldine sent her children back to their apartment and talked briefly with Janice. Their conversation was short because Janice was on the phone with her mother.
After finishing her conversation with Janice, Geraldine walked back next door. As she entered her apartment, she found Larry in the living room talking to their children. She asked him what he was doing in her apartment. He said he was just "visiting [his] children." She reminded him that he was not supposed to be there. She then threatened to call the police on him.
Larry asked Geraldine where she had been; she said it was none of his business. He told her that she was supposed to be home taking care of the children. She told him to get out of her apartment. He told her that he did not want “those people” taking care of his children. She told him that he cannot tell her what to do anymore. He said, “You’re going to listen to me!” and pulled out a gun, a World War II German Luger. She told him to put it away. He responded, “Ain’t nobody running my house but me.”
Geraldine asked her daughter to go upstairs, call her grandfather, and tell him that Larry was there. As she went upstairs, Larry followed her. Geraldine tried to stop him, but he pushed her away. As their daughter went to the phone, Larry picked it up and pulled the cord out of the wall. Fearing for her and her children’s safety, Geraldine ran next door to get help. Janice was still on the phone with her mother. Geraldine told her to hang up and call the police, saying that Larry had a gun.
Janice’s mother, Jessie Morris, heard Geraldine yelling, “Janice, Janice, call the police,” through the phone. Jessie asked Janice who was talking, and Janice told her that it was Geraldine. Jessie asked what was wrong, but Janice said she did not know. Janice said that she would call her back and hung up. That was the last time Jessie heard Janice’s voice.
Moments later, Larry arrived at Janice’s apartment. He fired one shot into the air. Before Janice could call the police, Larry shot her in the chest. Then, in front of Janice’s two children, he took aim at Geraldine as she lay cowering on the floor. He shot her once under her left arm. Ralph heard the commotion and ran downstairs. Larry grabbed him by the shirt and shot him in the back of the head. Then, according to a neighbor, Larry calmly strode out of the apartment and disappeared. A man who was visiting an apartment resident followed Larry's car, wrote down his license plate number, and contacted the police.
Janice was pronounced dead at the scene. Ralph was rushed to a local hospital, where he died a short time later. Detective Tom Bowerman noted that the murder was “senseless” and “stupid”. He pointed out that Larry did not go there to kill Ralph or Janice. Neither one knew him. They were simply in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” Geraldine survived the shooting but was left paralyzed from the waist down after the bullet shattered her spine. She is now confined to a wheelchair.
The next day, a Talladega County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a campsite six miles out of town. A 1975 Mercury Cougar had been discovered hidden in the brush. It was registered to Larry. Police found a campsite nearby; personal belongings were found there that belonged to Larry. They did not find the weapon that was used in the attack. In fact, there were no weapons found in the car. It appeared that he had been living in the car. There was a lot of clothing in it, including camouflage clothing (which he was wearing at the time of the attack). They also found a notebook which he apparently used as a diary. In it, he wrote who came and went to Geraldine’s apartment. He apparently had been stalking her for weeks.
A few days later, another campsite was found ten miles away. Police believe that, after hiding in the woods for about a week, Larry caught a ride to his hometown of Brewton, Alabama. Police discovered that he also spent some time in southern Alabama with his sister. After that, he spent some time in the Florida panhandle area, which is where he attended truck driving school. In June 1989, following up on a report of a suspicious person, police found a large quantity of Larry's belongings along some railroad tracks in the Roanoke, Virginia area. This included: his wallet, camouflage clothing, camping supplies, and an X-rated movie purchased at a video store in Roanoke. The discovery of the videotape led police to believe that he had, at one point, stayed with someone who had a VCR.
Jessie wants Larry to pay for what he did to Janice and Ralph. She does not understand why he killed them. Regardless, she feels that he should be punished for what he did.
In April 1989, Larry was placed on the Alabama Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list. Authorities suspect that he may be living in the woods as a survivalist. He was most recently sighted in June 1990 in Wilmington, Delaware, where he has relatives. He has been known to frequent palm readers and mystics. He may be working as a truck driver. He is considered a "gun fanatic" that likes "all kinds" of weapons. He should be considered armed and dangerous.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the February 3, 1993 episode; it was updated on the September 25, 1994 episode.
  • It was also featured on America's Most Wanted. Some sources state that tips from its viewers led to Larry's arrest.
  • Some sources state that Geraldine was paralyzed from the chest down, and that Ralph's name was spelled "Swann".

Larry after his 1994 arrest

Results: Captured. After this story was re-aired, the authorities were contacted by an anonymous “Unsolved Mysteries” viewer who claimed to have seen Larry fishing on the banks of the Christina River in Wilmington, Delaware. Three days later, on April 24, 1994, two undercover police detectives, Detective Quenton Watson and Detective Bruce Pinkett, were dispatched to the area. Posing as fishermen, they first encountered Larry in a wooded area near the river. They began a conversation with him about fishing. He took them over to the river to show them where his fishing pole was in the water.
After talking about fishing for a few more minutes, the detectives made eye contact with each other. They then identified themselves as police officers to Larry. A brief struggle ensued between them. They all fell to the ground. The officers got back to their feet but were still struggling with Larry. At that point, they turned and threw Larry into the water.
While the officers regrouped, Larry attempted to flee downriver and hide in a tugboat. However, backup units (including a helicopter) quickly cornered him, and he surrendered without further struggle. His identity was confirmed through fingerprint analysis. At his campsite, police found a makeshift bunker, complete with generator, heater, television, and stove. The subsequent discovery of several weapons, including a speargun and a sawed-off shotgun, led investigators to believe that Larry had been prepared to resist arrest by whatever means necessary. Detective Pinkett believes that if they had found him at his campsite, there would have been gunfire and possible injuries to officers.
On April 27, 1994, Larry was extradited to Alabama to face charges of murder and attempted murder. It was a long-awaited moment for Geraldine and the families of Ralph and Janice. According to Chief Mike Hamlin, the families were delighted to learn of his arrest and were glad that it was coming to an end. For years, they (especially Geraldine) had lived with the fear that he would come back and hurt them or someone else.
In November 1994, Larry went on trial for capital murder and attempted murder. Geraldine was the star witness. His defense called no witnesses of their own. The trial lasted three days. After deliberating for less than an hour, the jury found him guilty of all charges. He was sentenced to death. In 1997, he appealed his conviction, but it was upheld. He awaits execution in an Alabama prison. Sadly, Geraldine, who after the divorce went by Geraldine Simmons Gaston, passed away on Christmas Day in 2020, at the age of fifty-nine.