Divorce, despair and a family’s need to ‘move on’ leads to final search for Macin Smith

Tracey Bratt-Smith, mother of missing Utahn Macin Smith, is joined by her brother, and Macin’s uncle, Keith Bratt, in an exclusive interview with Gephardt Daily reporter Daisy Blake, Sept. 8, 2018. 

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Sept. 9, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — It’s been three agonizing years since 17-year-old Macin Smith vanished from his family’s St. George, Utah home.

The mystery surrounding his disappearance has taken a devastating toll.

Despite the tireless efforts of his family, friends and thousands of volunteers worldwide, the search for the troubled teen has come up empty.

Now, those closest to Macin say it’s time to move on.

In an exclusive interview with Gephardt Daily, Macin’s mother, Tracey Bratt-Smith and her brother, Keith Bratt, Macin’s uncle, reveal just how heavy the burden has been for Macin’s loved ones — including a decision by Tracey and husband Darrin to end their marriage of more than 30 years.

They also discuss — in new detail — the contents of a letter found after Macin’s disappearance and why it’s led them to one inescapable conclusion — that its time for those who love Macin most to once again live their lives.

To see the emotional interview with Bratt-Smith and her brother, click on the player above.

For images from what was likely the last large scale search for Macin conducted the in St. George, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, see the photo gallery below. Click to enlarge images.

Update: Late word from the search organizers was that no evidence of Macin Smith was found.

Keith Bratt wrote a lengthy message about the family’s gratitude on the Facebook page Help Find Macin Smith #Macin’s Warriors, concluding his message, “Although Tracey’s son was not found today, a huge burden was lifted.”


  1. Daisy, THANK YOU for another beautiful interview.
    Keith, we love you!
    Tracey, I wish I could wrap you in a hug and let the strength and compassion and grace that has poured from you through all of this bare you up at this time. You are a pillar. (of light, of strength, of goodness of bravery, or compassion, and of hope and of such an example of Christlike faith. THANK YOU.

  2. Nowhere in the article or video are those supposedly newly released details of the two page letter. Maybe if those details were released, it would trigger new leads. There could be info in those “details” that might make someone, who knows the missing Macin–maybe lives next door or works side by side with him–recognize him as who he really is. He could be using a fake name, taking cash for work, living off the grid. I think the details should be released.

    • It’s all very suspicious. Why not release the letter? It’s likely that he is NOT ALIVE; if he is alive, he would contacted the world somehow. His family drove him to insecurity and bear the responsibility for his discontent.

      • seriously wise the up. you are just a nosey person who wants to know whats in the letter. you couldnt care less about what that poor family are going threw

        • No, he’s not. You can’t get a straight answer out of these people! There are many ex-military, ex-law enforcement, and retired SAR members who at one time devoted themselves full time to finding this kid. But the family choose to keep things like the letter, and Macin’s mental, emotional, and psychological back ground information a secret. Having that information can only help find this kid; and without it, good luck. I could devote myself to this again full time if they were willing to make that info available to select individuals wanting to help.

    • Definitely release details of letter, he didn’t take his wallet because he is planning to start over as in new identity. He probably pan handled for money and started changing appearance, that’s the first thing that would be done, appearance is the obvious first change. Check what kind of games he was playing on Xbox believe it or not some gamers mimic what they are playing, or saw something in the game itself for a location. I could see him going to comic con. The neighbor saw him within eight hours in the neighborhood. Where was he during the eight hours, friends house or a location he already found to go. I would check if all his clothes are there at his house and bags, he may have stashed clothes in a unknown location prior, I think this was planned ahead of time

  3. Hi is their any water wells, ever since I saw the disappeared programs on ID of Macins case, I noticed a pattern that when someone goes missing in a desert like environment the person is found in a well, crevice, he is underground in the desert or he is not in the desert, something is over him that’s why air search can’t see him or in a crevice, look in cracks, mines, sink holes, loose dirt, dry looking loose dirt, caves, remember people always need a roof any roof, unfortunately gamers, tend to mimic survival strategies they learned from a game, was he playing a game that showed some kind of story that can relate to what’s going on?

  4. Has cadaver dogs been used on these searches? If it is like a needle in a haystack, no way could a body (may God forbid) be found without these dogs.

  5. First, I am so very sorry about your missing son. I have a son his age & couldn’t bear to think something happened to him. I wish I could give you a huge hug. I’m wondering, did he go back to Canada to reconnect with his friends? I too agree that the letter should be released. Someone knows something & has seen him. God bless your family & I pray that you find comfort, peace & closure. I am praying for y’all. Warm Regards, ~Loren

  6. Macin had a very complex persona mentally. He should have been much earlier under some medication and also on a therapy regimen after his attempted suicide thoughts and having run away. He was intelligent enough not to run away without any resources whatsoever even if he was going to start a new life on his own. It appears he may not have even had a pen with him. The taking of his computer by his father wound up being a traumatic tipping point for him. He should have been under counseling and been weaned off the video games as he only had this somewhat fantasy life going for himself. He had no close friends either boys or girls which is highly unusual. He was a tall gangly boy but not physically strong where he could really defend himself. I believe he was picked up hitchhiking and it proved to be fatal. I don’t see him being a victim of being trafficked. IN a large family one child often slips through the cracks of being social and adapting like the other kids. I don’t hold out much hope for him to be found as there is so much desert there. This case broke up a very good marriage and broke the hearts of many who knew him.

    • Are you someone close to the family, or just speculating about meds & suicide attempts? How much do you know about Macin’s background?

  7. Prayers for the family my son is this age. Someone knows something. If he was killed there would be something but abducted by a ride or promise if new udenty

  8. To the Smith family:
    I am so sorry for your loss, and I am also sorry for all of the judgments, accusations and insinuations made by the public at large, including others up-thread on this very page. It is quite easy for people who are not in your position, and have never been through anything like this, to make assumptions about your family and what “should have been” done differently. In hindsight, though, everything is clear, and all you do is question yourself about all the clues you feel you missed. I’ve done and continue to do the same thing: In June, 2016, my 18-year old son went missing from his home in West Virginia; he did not take his keys, his wallet, his ID, or even his phone. He also left something very similar to what Macin left: a note that didn’t specifically say anything and wasn’t left in plain sight, but changed the focus of the search entirely (it was an entry in a journal that was in his dresser – his father found it and never even told ME the entirety of what it said, simply because it was so deeply personal and heart-breaking). Unfortunately, my son had access to his father’s hunting rifle and the search for him ended after not-quite three days, in the worst (but expected) way.

    There is no such thing as closure, even when you find the child you have lost. I have the peace of knowing that my boy is at rest, knowing there is a place to go for him. It is my hope and prayer that some day, your son can be given his rest in the same way, that you will have found him wherever he ended up. I am gladdened to see that you are able to move forward, in whatever ways you can, for this honors your beautiful Macin’s memory more than anything else you are able to do. This story resonated with me in many ways, due to the similarity of the disappearances and the inherent beauty of both boys – especially those intense and exquisite blue eyes.

    May you continue to walk in love and light, and may the peace of the Universe lift up your hearts in your times of deepest sorrow.


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