ST. GEORGE, Utah, Sept. 1, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — “I remember when Macin first went missing thinking: ‘He’s trying to prove a point and I got it, so come home now,'” the mother of Macin Smith told Gephardt Daily in an exclusive interview Sunday. “I took comfort in the statistics. Ninety nine percent of teens are back within a week. Those are pretty good statistics to rely on.”
However, Macin wasn’t going to be one of that 99 percent. Instead, he’s joined the infinitesimal number of missing young person’s cases that have stretched on and on. In Macin’s case, he was 17 when he went missing on Sept. 1, 2015 from his home in St. George; he then effectively disappeared without a trace.
For Macin’s mom, Tracey Bratt, these four years have been a roller coaster of emotions, as she faces the fact she might well never get to see her son as a grown man.
Since Macin went missing, Bratt and husband, Darrin Smith, divorced in summer 2018. She is now remarried and has spoken to Gephardt Daily on numerous occasions, and she did Sunday.
She said there will be a small celebration to commemorate Macin’s memory Sunday night.
“I’ve been sick this weekend, so some of the Macin plans have been thwarted,” she said. “However, those of us in the St. George area are meeting tonight at 7:45 p.m. at Crimson Ridge Park to light a candle in memory of our boy. It will be a small group as we didn’t really advertise.”
The park at 3000 E. Crimson Ridge Drive includes custom-made bench to honor Macin, inscribed with the words “Never Give Up; Never Surrender.” The bench also features an anime portrait of Macin, depicting him as the 17 year old he was when he walked away from his home early in the morning when his parents thought he was on his way to school. That date is also inscribed on the bench, as well as Macin’s date of birth. The bench has been placed just a block-and-a-half from where he went missing, and it overlooks the red rocks that he loved.
Bratt added: “The rest of the family are remembering Macin in their own way. As I reflect back on the past four years, it has literally fractured the family. Moving on has been incredibly trying.”
Bratt said she never imagined that the family would go this long with no information about the shy young man who battled with bouts of depression.
“I was thinking about the timeline last night,” she said. “I took comfort in the statistics. If Macin was not home within a week, then I had the 60-90 days I was told by search and rescue where he would definitely be home. And so when those days passed, ever so slowly, one becomes deflated. I think with some of the sightings too, it gave us an element of hope that the ‘homeless’ theory could be a possibility. For this Mother though, imagining Macin without the comforts of home, was far fetched.”
In the months after he went missing, there were many reported sightings of Macin. The most promising was in late January 2017, when there were multiple possible sightings in the northern California city of Modesto; even a possible multi-person sighting reported by volunteers at a homeless count. Earlier that month, a handful of other possible sightings were reported in the Sacramento area, which police also investigated. However, as time has gone on, those reports have dwindled to nothing.
Jolyne Bowden Gailey, a long-term friend and supporter of the Smith family and administrator of the Help Find Macin Smith page on Facebook, posted in August: “Just prior to our last search one year ago we sat down at a kitchen table as an admin team also including Momma Tracey and Uncle Keith, and I think for the first time all of us finally came to the same conclusion. This is a recovery effort.”
Bratt said of this shift: “Logically it makes sense that there has been no sightings verified as legitimate Macin sightings, so as a family we need to accept the possibility that Macin isn’t coming back because he is no longer walking the earth. Looking for him locally has obviously been unsuccessful. We’ve exhausted our resources and volunteer hours are innumerable.”
The Facebook page, however, still has nearly 50,000 followers, from around the world.
“You will note a common theme on Macin’s Army page and that is ‘We won’t give up!!'” Bratt said. “We won’t give up hope. We won’t give up loving him. We won’t stop looking. He is a part of our everyday thoughts and at times what drives us forward.”
She said her thoughts turn often to the Troy Sirat story; the Nevada teen had been a missing person since July 6, 2016 and his remains were found on March 31, 2019 by hikers in the Lake Las Vegas/Lake Mead Recreation Area. Sirat would now be 22.
“It was an individual being in the right place at the right time that found his remains,” said Bratt of Sirat. “At times I have to refer to the only two that know for sure where he is. That is Macin and God. Hopefully God will see fit to let us know sooner than later.”
We asked Bratt whether moving from the home from which Macin went missing has given her a sense of peace.
“I think in some ways the old house brought me comfort,” she said. “In a psychological way, knowing Macin left from that house and walked the halls and played games and laughed in that house brought a sense of peace. However, starting new made sense. I still have the bed that he slept in and most all his personal belongings and to be honest, his Axe body wash still in the bathroom. Four years does not even seem possible. So easier? I would answer; it’s just become different. Once that hole is in your heart, it feels impossible to fill… even now.”
Macin, the youngest of the Smith’s six children and the only one who was still living at home, left behind his cellphone, wallet, laptop and his school binder.
He 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.
Macin has light-blue eyes, and he had short blond hair when he went missing. He is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds before his disappearance.
His story was featured on an Investigation Discovery Disappeared episode entitled “The Silent Son.”
There is a $10,000 reward in place for information leading to Macin’s location.
Anyone with information about Macin is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.