(This story was originally published August, 2016)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 27, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — St. George teenager Macin Smith will have been missing for one year on Sept. 1.
To mark the anniversary of their son’s disappearance, Macin’s parents, Tracey Bratt-Smith and Darrin Smith, sat down for an exclusive interview with Bill Gephardt in Salt Lake City.
At a commemorative event in Liberty Park on Saturday morning, they spoke to Gephardt about the specific events leading up to Macin’s disappearance, their differing thoughts about where he is now, and the results of the lie detector test Darrin volunteered to take after hearing allegations that he may have harmed his son.
Macin was 17 when he went missing, the youngest of Tracey and her husband Darrin’s six kids and was the last one living with them. Macin walked away from home in the early morning when his parents thought he was on his way to school.
“We heard him in the kitchen, getting ready for school, which is normal. We assumed he was leaving for the bus,” Tracey said.
Darrin continued, describing the period of time when he was expecting Macin home that day.
“I was waiting for him to get home from school, and I texted my wife at about 3 o’clock, 3:30, and I said, he didn’t come home. And so then we thought, OK, well he’s upset, maybe he’ll come home tonight, and he didn’t come home. Ten-thirty at night, we said, OK, he’s run away. That’s when we called the police.”
Macin did not take his cellphone, wallet or laptop, and he effectively vanished without a trace. Since then, Macin’s family and friends have been living in limbo with absolutely no solid evidence that Macin is alive or dead.
The event Saturday in Salt Lake City was organized with the help of Textwich, an organization that provides food for the homeless while simultaneously looking for the lost. Volunteers, including Macin’s parents and brothers and sisters, posted Macin’s “missing info” on the lunch sacks they handed out to the homeless, and handed out posters and fliers with his information on them. The group started the Bee Fed and Bee Found event in Liberty Park on Saturday morning, then moved to Pioneer Park in the afternoon.
Textwich representatives from California also carried out a search for Macin in Las Vegas on their way to Salt Lake City on Friday.
“Anytime I think about Macin, I just miss him,” Darrin said.
“We still have hope,” Tracey Bratt-Smith added. “We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t have hope. Keep hope alive by believing he’s out there somewhere, and we just need to reach him somehow and just let him know that he’s welcome to come home anytime, he’s welcome to pick up the phone and let us know where he is.”
Tracey and other family members have posted Facebook updates almost every day to the Help Find Macin Smith page, whose 15,618 members are known collectively as Macin’s Army.
Macin left 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.
Multiple possible Macin sightings have been reported, but none have proved credible. Macin’s family has worked with professional search organization Red Rock Search and Rescue and police to bring him home. For seven months, there has been a $10,000 reward in place, offered for information leading to his safe return.
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 last year, and there have been search efforts for him there, too.
“It’s been horrible,” Tracey said. “It’s been the worst year of our lives. Hard to describe in just a few minutes. It’s almost like we share grief, and we pass the torch along, and whoever is strong at the time comforts the other one. We have great family support, it’s just it’s been a process that’s been pretty trying.”
Anyone with information about Macin is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300, or David Cummings at RRSAR on 702-787-4068.