UPDATE: Ginger Petersen, 35, was found safely on Tybee Island, according to Sgt. Brandon Sellers, Investigations Division of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. The Citizen will be updating this story as information is confirmed.
Unrelated to the missing person’s report, Petersen was arrested. “We were working a criminal case on her for forgeries and had a warrant out,” Sellers said. “But she wasn’t running from us.” Petersen is currently being transported back to Morgan County.
A local Morgan County family is desperately looking for a missing mother of two, Ginger Petersen, 35, of Rutledge, who they last heard from on Monday, June 11. Since then, no one has reported seeing or hearing from Petersen, including her two sons and father with whom she shares a home in Rutledge. One of Petersen’s vehicles was found this week by Walton County police, wrecked and abandoned on the side of the road, with no sign of Peterson inside. Petersen owns another vehicle, a 2014 Blue Nissan Altima, which is currently unaccounted for.
“I have never dealt with anything like this in my life,” said Tiffany Vining, Petersen’s sister who lives in Buckhead. “She has major depression. I am just scared she has had a nervous breakdown or something.” Vining filed a missing persons report with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, June 18. “We love her no matter what. No matter what her situation is, we would always have her back and we would never turn our back on her. We love her.”
Petersen’s ex-husband, Brian Petersen, last spoke with Ginger on June 10 to arrange his child support payment to her.
“She never showed up to get it,” said Brian Peterson. “She sounded very strange that day and I thought it was weird that she didn’t come to get the money. She always comes to get it as soon as it is due.”
According to Brian Petersen, he became even more concerned over Father’s Day weekend when Ginger did not return home or call her own father for the holiday.
“It’s just not like her. She is such a family person. She goes out of her way to do special things for holidays,” said Brian Petersen. “I just want her to contact someone. I’m worried and so are my kids.”
Ginger Petersen has custody of her 17-year-old and 10-year-old son.
“She usually texts her older son every day,” added Vining. “She never goes this long without talking to her kids.”
According to the report filed with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Vining was suspicious of a text message her missing sister sent her on June 11.
“It just didn’t sound like her and she wasn’t making any sense,” said Vining.
Just two days before that, On Sunday, June 10, Morgan County police were called by Vining concerning a custody dispute with Petersen, in which Vining requested the boy stay with her for the night when Petersen allegedly was requesting he walk alone at night to meet her at the Buckhead Fire Station. Morgan County Police Officer Ricky Lamar spoke with Petersen, who was with her current boyfriend, Charles Bennett, of Good Hope.
Officer Lamar wrote in his report that he suspected Ginger Petersen to be using methamphetamines due to her “noticeably dramatic weight loss” and “slurred speech.”
“Mrs. Petersen admitted she had a drug problem. I advised Mrs. Petersen she needed to seek some help and [her son] needed to stay with his aunt, Tiffany, for the night,” wrote Lamar.
The family believes the last person Ginger Petersen was with was her boyfriend, Charles Bennett at his mother’s residence in Good Hope.
“Her car was seen by friends outside of the mother’s house, but the mother says she hasn’t seen her,” said Tiffany. “We don’t know where the boyfriend is either, no one in our family has been able to get in touch with him either.”
Investigators from Walton County Police, who are also looking into Petersen’s disappearance, could not be reached for comment by press time on Tuesday, June 19.
The family is advising anyone who sees her to immediately call the police.
“She is just not in a good place. I don’t know how she would react if someone went up to her. She is well known in the community, but she has lost weight and looks different than how people knew her. We would just tell people to call the police right away if they see her,” said Vining. “We just want to know that she is safe and get her any help she needs.”
If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Ginger Petersen, call the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 342-1507.