Macin Smith’s uncle shares new insights into nephew’s disappearance, offers hope for others

Missing St. George Teen Macin Smith
Missing St. George, Utah teenager Macin Smith

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Dec. 17, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Macin Smith’s uncle is sharing new insights into his nephew’s disappearance and ultimately sending a message of hope as the seventh Christmas without him approaches.

The then 17-year-old reportedly walked away from his residence in St. George early in the morning on Sept. 1, 2015, when his parents thought he was on his way to school. Macin then effectively disappeared without a trace. He would now be 23.

Keith Bratt, the brother of Macin’s mother, Tracey Bratt, posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon:

With Christmas right around the corner, I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has continued to look, and pray for my nephew Macin Smith.

I remember like it was yesterday, my sister calling me and telling me Macin hadn’t come home from school, as time went by we started a little family Facebook page to keep everyone informed on updates. Years later, and over 54,000 family members strong, we still continue to be supported every day.

Macin suffered from depression, he had tried to commit suicide when he was 15, and was hospitalized, during this time. Macin felt he was different, and felt he did not fit in. I have read the note he left, and it is heartbreaking. I have always felt Macin committed suicide, but I have always wanted answers, and if that is what happened, a proper resting place for him, and the peace of knowing.

Christmas is a time of love and joy, it can also be a time of stress, heartache, and loneliness for some. For anyone who reads this, and feels you are alone, and no one cares, I can promise you, from heartbreaking experiences, this is not the case. I know a young boy who felt that way, he had a family that loves him unconditionally, he has 54,000 people from all over the world who, when asked the question “Who cares if my light goes out” said I DO. I love this song, and it breaks my heart the singer of it committed suicide. It is such a heartbreaking irony.

I truly appreciate and love each and every one of you, and if you are asking yourself “who cares if one light goes out,” I DO, I honestly do.

I wish everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, from all of my family, to yours. God bless each and every one of you.”

Back in September, on the anniversary of his disappearance, Gephardt Daily spoke with Jolyne Bowden Gailey, a longtime friend and supporter of the family and administrator of the Help Find Macin Smith page on Facebook.

She said that progress on the case has stalled, with little forward progress to report.

“Unfortunately, there is nothing new,” Bowden Gailey said. “We have continued to do independent searches through the last two years. We weren’t able to have organized searches because of COVID, but we have not given up on an independent level.

“We still continue to receive potential sightings or people who seem to remember seeing him on the streets at one point, but we work hard to follow through and confirm or rule them out. These ‘leads’ take our attention all over the nation, so it’s time-consuming to contact local authorities in different states and hope that they respond, but so far we’ve had very good luck with communicating and actually ruling things out along the way.”

In the months after he went missing, there were many reported sightings of Macin. The one that appeared most promising was in late January 2017, when there were multiple  reports that he possibly had been seen in the northern California city of Modesto; even a possible multi-person sighting reported by volunteers conducting 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.

The Macin Smith Facebook page, however, still has 54,500 followers, from around the world, and that page has been used as a force for a greater good by being opened up to reports on any missing person. Bowden Gailey said it’s not too late to get involved in the search for others like Macin who are missing and may be facing mental health challenges.

“It’s very hard to ask for public support when we have no clue where to look,” Bowden Gailey said. “We have searched almost everywhere that we can imagine that he could be. The one thing that we have done on the Help Find Macin Smith page is we have opened it up to ALL missing people; we never want anyone to feel this way. If you truly want to help, please join our page and join us in our effort to help find those missing from your own area.”

Macin, the youngest of six children and the only one who was still living at home, left behind his cellphone, wallet, laptop and his school binder.

His parents discovered the note he wrote 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 titled “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.


  1. These cases are so very sad. Mental health help for young people is decades behind where it should be. In the 1960’s when I was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, I managed to get a few appointments with a psychiatrist because my father was a doctor and was able to make the arrangements himself. At that time there were no medications given to teenagers because the belief was that children didn’t suffer from depression. Whatever it was they were suffering from was more likely a short-lived “unhappiness” over being bullied or failing school or not having close friends. It was absolutely ridiculous that childhood depression was so easily brushed away as a potential diagnosis. We now know that depression can be hereditary, being passed to one or more members in a family every generation. That was the case in my family, and it would come home to roost in shocking fashion some years later. My niece – my older sister’s only daughter – took her own life after battling with bipolar depression for years. She had had a few “good” years in early adulthood and everyone thought “Oh good – now that the teenage years are over, she will be fine”. During those “good” years she got a College diploma, married and had two daughters. Then the Grim Reaper got ahold of her once more and she took her own life, leaving behind her little girls aged 4 and 7. We need to start taking teenage depression MUCH more seriously. Those are hazardous years for someone who is depressed. Add all the stressors that come along with being a teenager – bullying, pressure to excel in school, pressure to lay out a life plan to follow, trying to “find your tribe” when you’re an introvert, moving away from the only secure and safe place you’ve ever had – your home and family. The only people who will benefit from sweating over Calculus, Algebra and Set Theory are those few each generation who become mathematicians or rocket scientists. Education time would be better spent teaching kids Life Skills and How To Cope With Depression. I still like to think that Macin is alive and living and working somewhere, rather than to see the crowds of rescuers out with half a dozen cadaver dogs. If he is alive and well, I pray that he will contact someone in his family even if he only stays on the phone long enough to say “I’m alive and I’m OK”. That’s such a close and loving family that he grew up in – they deserve closure at the very least.


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