Exclusive: Mom addresses questions after possible Macin Smith sightings in California

Macin Smith's Mom
Tracey-Bratt Smith and her son, Macin Smith. Photo Courtesy: GoFundMe

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Jan. 31, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The mother of missing St. George teen Macin Smith is addressing key questions about her son’s disappearance as a flurry of sightings are reported in Northern California.

Tracey Bratt-Smith and husband Darrin Smith’s son Macin was 17 when he vanished, and he has been gone for 17 months as of Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Macin, the last of the Smith’s six children living at home, walked away from home in the early morning hours when his parents thought he was on his way to school, leaving behind his cellphone, wallet, laptop, even his school binder. Macin did leave a note, which his parents discovered a week later folded inside his wallet. They have not released the contents, preferring to say the note contained an “intent,” which led them to believe he may have planned to harm himself.

There have been multiple possible sightings of Macin, and interest in the case has ramped up again after possible sightings of Macin in the northern California city of Modesto. Late Thursday night, Jan. 26, there was a multi-person sighting reported by volunteers at the homeless count in Modesto. The police have been notified and searches are being carried out in that area.

Speaking exclusively to Gephardt Daily, Bratt-Smith said: “My senses are in hyperactive mode for sure. I’m praying something comes from this. So far, it has been multiple kids that ‘look’ like Macin but we are hoping one of the sightings will be valid. A lady who did an intake with a boy during the homeless count… her description seems pretty accurate. She is following up on the area and the information she got from that interview.”

Earlier this month, a handful of possible sightings were reported in the Sacramento area, which police are also investigating. Modesto and Sacramento are 75 miles apart.

Bratt-Smith and other family members have posted Facebook updates almost every day to the Help Find Macin Smith page, whose members have swelled in number to 27,360, in the hope of bringing him home. There is a $10,000 reward in place for information leading to Macin’s location.

On Monday, Bratt-Smith wrote about a live Q and A Sunday night on Facebook held to discuss Macin’s case. Her post covers some of the topics people are asking the most questions about. Some of the subjects she covers are below (her answers shown in italics):

When exactly Macin left, and where he grew up:  Macin did have hours of a head start when he left on Sept 1. 2015. It would have been from 7:40 a.m. (we assumed he was at school), and Darrin contacted me between 3:30 and 4 p.m. I believe. We could not have predicted he was missing, truly missing, until later that evening.

Macin lived in Canada from ninth-11th grades in Okotoks, Alberta. Prior to that he was raised in Saratoga Springs, Utah. He started kindergarten and attended school through eighth grade in the Saratoga Springs area which is right by Lehi, for those of you unfamiliar with where that is located in Utah County.

Are there searches continuing in St. George? Darrin goes out on his own on his ATV in the desert. He prefers to search alone. I think it’s almost like a reprieve for him. Darrin says “Every time I don’t find something, I get more hopeful that he might still be out there alive.” He was out yesterday simultaneously with the Modesto crew but looking around some jagged rocky areas just north of us. The desert is vast and multiple searches have been done but he continues to hope to rule out areas. Our last official search with the community was in Nov. 2016 but we will certainly hold more, especially if there is an interest. I’m the opposite of Darrin, I do NOT like to go out alone. 

Has anyone questioned the shuttle or bus systems of St. George? Yes. It was done the week of the disappearance if I recall correctly. Fliers were brought to both Greyhound and St. George Shuttle but I don’t think St. George Express ever got one. We were not familiar with all the modes of transport at the time.

Was Macin handy? The type that could build shelters and fend for himself? I would say “no.” He HATED camping. Sending him to scouts or any of those early boyhood father and son events were not his favorite. Mace would make reasons for why he shouldn’t go to scouts. It actually became quite humorous at times.

Have Macin’s friend’s provided information? The few friends Macin had in the St. George area have been interviewed multiple times, even as recently as Oct./Nov. 2016 as the show “Disappeared” was gathering data. They were quite thorough. What a great group of staff they were. Extremely considerate too.

Will we learn more about the letter Macin left? Macin’s letter comes up quite often. I know people are curious creatures. I want you to imagine for a minute if you’ve ever had the experience of someone reading your journal/diary which you have kept hidden and private. You’ve poured out your most intimate deepest thoughts and then a total stranger goes through your things, finds it and copies it. But it doesn’t end there. The stranger proceeds to publish it online for thousands to read. Not cool. As it is, every picture ever taken of Macin is plastered all over the internet and can never really be taken down when all of this is resolved. That was an act by this desperate Momma wanting every facial expression of my boy to be memorized so people can visually recognize him. Most of my family have not seen the contents of his letter. “When” he comes back, he needs to know that some things were kept sacred.

This spring, Macin’s story will be featured on the Investigation Discovery Channel documentary series “Disappeared.”

Macin is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has light blue eyes and he had short blond hair when he went missing. The Smith family moved to Utah from Canada in spring 2015.

Anyone with information about Macin is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300, or David Cummings at Red Rock Search and Rescue at 702-787-4068.

The Facebook questions and answers, with family friend and spokeswoman TaeLynn Johnson, is shown below:

Welcome to our Live Q&A!

Posted by TaeLynn Johnson on Sunday, January 29, 2017