Details of Disappearance
Carlene was last seen in Macon, Georgia on June 21, 1972. That afternoon, she left her home on East Street and drove her family's white 1963 Pontiac station wagon to the now-defunct Westgate Shopping Center off Pio Nono Avenue. She had a driver's license for only a short time and this was the first time she'd driven anywhere alone.
Carlene planned to pick up her younger sister from summer day camp after she left the shopping center. She invited her younger brother and older sister to accompany her, but neither of them wanted to go, and so Carlene left alone. She saw some boys she knew at the shopping center, and stopped at her boyfriend's workplace behind the shopping center and left a note on his car telling him she'd see him that night.
She never returned home and has never been heard from again. Her mother realized she was missing when Carlene's younger sister called to say she hadn't been picked up from camp. Carlene's mother notified the police, but they refused to begin a search until 24 hours had passed.
The Pontiac was found at the shopping center at 1:45 a.m. the next day, parked in front of a Krispy Kreme donut shop. The windows were rolled down and the doors were unlocked, and Carlene's loved ones don't believe she would have left the vehicle in this condition. There was no sign of her at the scene. Carlene's sister believes the car was parked at that location only a short time before it was found.
Carlene's father was in Florida on business at the time of her disappearance; he traveled frequently as part of his job. Almost a year after Carlene disappeared, her family moved to North Carolina. They left a phone behind at their Macon home, hooked up to a search hotline number, and asked the new owners to answer it in case Carlene called. She never did, although the new owners kept the phone in service for two years.
In 1977, Carlene's parents returned to Macon and settled into a residence about four miles from their old one. Her younger sister also returned to Macon as an adult. Carlene's father is deceased and her mother died in 2016, but her sister is sister still alive and in the Macon area.
Carlene was a rising junior at Southwest High School in 1972, and her hobbies included drawing, dancing and playing the clarinet and violin. Her case remains unsolved.