Michelle Parker: Police search canal behind home owned by suspect's father
Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
Authorities continued their search for clues in the disappearance of Michelle Parker on Friday, diving into a canal behind a home owned by the father of suspect Dale Smith II.
Divers searching the small canal, which runs behind 6806 Chaucer Lane in the Sky Lake subdivision, through the morning and afternoon, but no discoveries were apparent.
Orange County property records show the home is owned by Dale W. Smith, the suspect's father.
It's not the first home owned by the suspect's father to draw law enforcement attention; a SWAT team search the Smith family residence on Rose Boulevard last month.
Neighbors say the home on Chaucer Lane is occupied by the elder Smith's sister.
It was one of several searches Friday in the effort to locate Parker or clues about her disappearance. Deputies on all-terrain vehicles were also in east Orange County, near Econlockhatchee Trail between Curry Ford Road and Lee Vista Boulevard.
Divers were also seen searching the water in Lake Conway, the same place where the missing woman's phone was found recently.
Also on Friday, lawyers for Smith and Parker's family discussed visitation for the couple's children.
The 3-year-old boy-girl twins have been staying with Smith and his family since Parker disappeared, but have spent the majority of their lives living with Parker at her mother Yvonne Stewart's home.
Stewart's attorney Matt Morgan said the details of the visitation agreement could be worked out as early as Friday or possibly on Monday.
The twins spent one night with the family earlier this month when the Department of Children and Families filed an emergency shelter order and removed them from Smith's care.
However, a judge ruled the twins were not in danger and ordered that they be returned to their father.
Meanwhile, a link for donations has been posted on a Facebook page for Smith's "friends and supporters," seeking $5,000 in support. The post says Smith "hasn't worked in two weeks because he is at home taking care of the two children" and "things are getting tight."
The link was posted on Wednesday, but by Friday afternoon, just $200 had been collected.
Friday's developments come on the heels of the discovery of Parker's iPhone, near a bridge between Lake Conway and Little Lake Conway in the Belle Isle area.
Parker's mother, Yvonne Stewart, broke down Thursday after learning her daughter's phone was located.
"It's become a lot more real to me that someone has done something terrible to my child," Stewart said Thursday. "I cannot even begin to tell you how much pain my heart is in today. I want to find my daughter."
The 33-year-old Geneva mother of three has not been seen since Nov. 17 when she dropped off her two youngest children with their father, Dale Smith II.
Police say Smith is the sole suspect in her disappearance, but have not charged him. The iPhone was found about halfway between his condominium and his parent's home, where he claimed to go after Parker dropped off their children.
Family, friends and volunteers have plastered Central Florida with missing-person posters with information about Parker's disappearance.
Parker, who works as a bartender at The Barn in Sanford, was reported missing by her family shortly after she failed to show up for her 8:30 p.m. shift Nov. 17.
On the day of her disappearance, an episode of "The People's Court" featuring Parker and Smith aired in which the couple argued about her lost engagement ring. It was taped in June.
Parker, a mother of three, was last seen wearing jeans, a Florida Gators hooded sweatshirt and a silver cross necklace.
Anyone with information about her disappearance can call Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous and can earn a reward of up to $5,000.
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