Deputies ask for public's help finding 4 girls - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Deputies ask for public's help finding 4 girls

An undated DMV photo of Laverne Bennett. (Source: Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office) An undated DMV photo of Laverne Bennett. (Source: Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office)
(from left to right:) Lillian, Carolina, Emily and Minnie (Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office) (from left to right:) Lillian, Carolina, Emily and Minnie (Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office)
Lillian, 10, Minnie, 9, Carolina, 8, and Emily Bennett, 6, have not been seen since July 7. (Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office) Lillian, 10, Minnie, 9, Carolina, 8, and Emily Bennett, 6, have not been seen since July 7. (Oconee Co. Sheriff's Office)
WALHALLA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is looking for the public's help locating four girls who were last seen with their mother, deputies said.

Laverne Marie Bennett, 44, of Walhalla, has visitation rights with her four daughters every other weekend, according to deputies. Bennett picked up the children last weekend and did not return them to their father as planned, deputies said.

The girls, Lillian (Lily), 10, Minnie (Me-Mae), 9, Carolina (Amy), 8, and Emily Bennett, 6, have not been seen since July 7, deputies said.

Their father, Bruce Bennett, said that his ex-wife took the girls for the holiday weekend on July 4. She was supposed to return them on the 7th, but he has not heard from the girls or Laverne Bennett since she picked them up.

Bruce Bennett is nervous that his ex-wife feels desperate, and in that state, he isn't sure what she may do. 

He said she took off with the girls last August, and it took him until October to find them. He said that time, Laverne Bennett took them to Iowa, where she has family.

Bruce Bennett said this time, he has no idea where the girls may be.

"What bothers me the most is the not knowing. I don't know if they're dead, you don't know. And if I just knew that they were alive and well, that would be a big burden off of me," said Bruce Bennett.

Oconee County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jimmy Watt said warrants were signed for Laverne Bennett's arrest on Sunday on four felony counts of custodial interference. Watt said she had three days to bring the girls back but because she has not yet, the charges were upgraded from misdemeanors to felonies.

Watt said deputies want the want the girls and their mother back safely.

Anyone who has information on their whereabouts is asked to call the Oconee County Sheriff's Office at 864-638-4111 or Crime Stoppers at 864-638-STOP or 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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