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      Family of missing Midlands man aim to host community event

      The couple has not seen their son Michael George, 22, since Christmas Eve of 2011. His car was found Christmas Day.

      WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Helen and Gary George are trying to fill a year long hole in their heart.

      The couple has not seen their son Michael George, 22, since Christmas Eve of 2011. His car was found Christmas Day. The Lexington County Sheriff's Department arrested Jamey Charles Mallete,36, on Friday. In December, William Embree Jr., 34, was also arrested. Both are charged with kidnapping and murdering Michael.

      But the family still holds out hope.

      "Until I see his body, his remains, I am going to still say he is alive," George's mother Helen said. "As a mom, I cannot stop not thinking that. I cannot give up on him. I cannot quit looking for him."

      Michael's father Gary said the couple does not know the two men being held responsible for their son's disappearance; but say they will eventually forgive them if convicted.

      "I honestly have no malice or hate for the people who have been arrested," Gary said. "My job is to get my son home. I am open to shaking the hand of anybody who comes forward and says 'This is where you will find your son'".

      The couple is doing everything they can to help. Last December, the family held a balloon release memorial; each balloon had a message encouraging the public to contact authorities with any tips. This time, Gary is trying to arrange a community bike riding event at the Midlands Technical College Airport campus. They hope to have a bike ride, food, health screenings, and child fingerprints taken by the Lexington County Sheriff's Department.

      Helen said riding bicycles were Michael's favorite hobby; and it is a way to keep spirits high.

      "Michael rode his bike for many miles; from Gaston to Lexington," Helen said. "That is a part of him."

      However, Gary is on social security; and does not have the resources to plan and pay for it. He hopes the public will help. Gary said the event is a way to prevent other parents from going through what they have. They even encourage other families of missing children across the Palmetto State to attend; which will honor their loved ones as well.

      "This stuff does not end," Gary said. "It does not go away. It is not like when you bury somebody, everybody mourns and gets over it. We are still at the day we found his car. We have no answers."

      Answers they hope will come soon to end a nightmare.

      The family hopes to hold the community bike ride event in late March or early April. If you would like to help, you can contact the George's at 580-3807.

      Midlands Technical College Special Events Coordinator Kim Boatwright is also lending a hand. The public can contact her at 822-3215; or at boatwright@midlandstech.edu.