The Disappearance of Macin Smith

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EARLY LIFE:

Macin Smith was born on April 7, 1998 to parents Tracy and Darrin Smith. The youngest of six children, he was often coddled by his older siblings while growing up.

For the majority of his life, Macin and his parents resided in Canada. Growing up, he was described as shy and sensitive, with a dream of one day becoming a rock star. When he was a toddler, his parents noticed a slight delay in his speech development, which led to him having to attend speech therapy. While the sessions helped, Macin was left with a slight speech impediment, which he was bullied for while in school.

Macin was an avid video game player, often spending his free time using his Xbox. In December 2013, his parents noticed his grades were slipping and took away the gaming console as punishment. Angry at his parents, Macin ran away in the middle of the night, only taking with him a sleeping bag and some food. He also had resumes in tow, hoping to make it on his own. However, due to the cold weather, he returned home after a few hours.

In April 2015, the Smith family moved to St. George, Utah. At this point, Macin was the only child living under his parents’ roof, and the decision to move was based on the nicer weather helping the depressive episodes he and his mother would sometimes experience. His father was also working construction jobs in the area. As the move occurred just before Macin’s senior year and not all his credits had transferred, he enrolled in summer school at Desert Hills High School.

Upon moving to St. George, Macin was receiving good grades. In order to encourage him, his parents made a deal with him where if he continued to do so then he could watch anime, which he was an avid fan of. However, he wasn’t able to watch it or access his electronics after 10:00pm, as that was his curfew on school nights.

Once Macin had begun his senior year, Darrin had returned home after working a job in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon his return, he had shared that he hoped his son would get a job and become more social, a desire that saw the 17-year-old pushing away from his father.

LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:

On August 31, 2015, Macin had received news that the first weeks of his senior year were off to a good start, grades-wise, so he texted his mother asking if he could spend the night watching anime. However, his father had another idea, wanting to take him out driving. Upon arriving home, Macin claimed to have a headache, so the pair rescheduled.

At 8:30pm, Tracy returned home from work and noticed her son had already gone to bed. When she asked why he was turning in so early, he told her he wasn’t feel well and she reminded him to not stay up late using his electronics.

Before heading to bed, Tracy unplugged the internet router, so that Macin wouldn’t be tempted to spend the night watching anime or playing video games.

At 1:30am that night, Darrin awoke and noticed a blue light coming from Macin’s room. Upon entering, he learnt his son was watching anime, so Darrin took away his laptop and cellphone, bringing both back to his and Tracy’s room.

When 7:00am came around, Darrin went back to Macin’s room to make sure he was getting ready for school, which he was. At 7:30am, both he and Tracy heard their son in the kitchen, and at 7:40am, they heard the garage door close and assumed Macin was heading to the bus stop, which was a two-minute walk down the road.

DISAPPEARANCE:

While Tracy went to work for the day, Darrin remained at home working in the backyard. He was planning on taking Macin out driving upon his son’s return home from school.

At 3:15pm, the school bus dropped off students at the bus stop. However, Macin wasn’t among them. Once 3:30pm came around and his son still hadn’t returned home, Darrin began to worry, but was unable to contact Macin due to having confiscated his son’s cellphone the night before. As such, he texted his wife, who assured him Macin was probably just blowing off steam and would return later.

After speaking with Darrin, Tracy checked her personal email and noticed an email from Macin’s school, saying he had been absent the entire day. Worried, Tracy immediately returned home and took a look at her son’s room. While the door had been locked, which struck Tracy as strange, nothing else seemed out of the ordinary.

Tracy contacted the family’s local church, as Macin would sometimes attend Youth Group meetings on Tuesdays. However, he was not there.

When 10:00pm came around and Macin still hadn’t returned home, his parents assumed he had run away and contacted the St. George Police Department to file a missing juvenile report. The deputy who took the report told them he’d keep an eye out for Macin during his patrol that night.

SEARCH:

Upon Macin being reported as a runaway, local police didn’t think too much of it, given that juvenile reports are common in Southern Utah.

On September 2, 2015, Tracy, thinking her son’s disappearance was only temporary, drove to Desert Hills High School to pay for Macin’s graduation apparel. However, while there, she learnt he hadn’t shown up for class that day.

Upon returning home, Tracy took one more look at Macin’s room and noticed he’d hidden his school supplies underneath a pile of clothes in his closet, as if to make it appear as though he’d gone to school the day before. She also discovered he’d left behind his wallet, which still had his ID and money inside, and noticed he hadn’t taken any clothes with him.

Three days later, the St. George Police Department ramped up its investigation, interviewing members of the family. They learnt about the recent changes in Macin’s home life, as well as about him having had his electronics taken away the night before he went missing.

Determined to find out more about her son’s disappearance, Tracy called the school bus company and learnt Macin hadn’t gotten on the bus the morning of September 1.

Not long after, the rest of Macin’s family arrived in town and helped to put up flyers in the neighbourhood. Tracy also reached out to the family’s church for support, which helped put together multiple search parties.

A few days after his disappearance, numerous tips were called in about a boy matching Macin’s description hitchhiking on the side of the road near the exit ramp to Interstate 15, just miles from his home. The boy had been holding a sign about needing a ride to Las Vegas. However, surveillance footage from surrounding gas stations proved the boy not to be Macin.

Not long after he went missing, Macin’s family held a candlelight vigil.

Reports soon came in about someone resembling Macin seen walking around Las Vegas, so his father drove down to search. Not long after, he was joined by Red Rock Search and Rescue. However, after a few days of searching, Darrin returned to Utah without his son.

Tracy and her sister looked through Macin’s computer and cellphone, but found nothing that would lead them to the missing boy’s whereabouts, as all his data had been deleted shortly before he ran away. Police hit a similar dead end when they brought both in for examination.

On September 7, 2015, Tracy discovered a note in Macin’s wallet that she had previously overlooked. While its contents have never been publicly released, the Smith family has said it showed signs that Macin could have possibly harmed himself. The note’s discovery promoted police to search a 30-foot cliff edge near the family’s home. However, no evidence was found.

Throughout the investigation, tips have been called in with possible sightings of Macin across the mid and southwestern United States. However, all remain unconfirmed.

A neighbour called in a tip to police, saying she’d seen Macin around 3:15pm on the day he disappeared, walking along a sidewalk in his neighbourhood. The time of day struck her as odd, so the encounter stuck with her. However, the lead didn’t help point investigators toward where Macin could have gone.

Approximately three weeks after the initial search, volunteers from Red Rock Search and Rescue conducted a search of the outskirts of St. George, with the help of volunteers, cadaver dogs and searchers on horseback. Despite their efforts, nothing was found.

Five months after his son’s disappearance, Macin’s father began facing accusations from the public about his possible involvement. To prove his innocence, he, along with Tracy, took a polygraph. While Tracy says both she and Darrin passed, police haven’t officially released the results in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.

There was hope that on his 18th birthday Macin would return, as he would officially be an adult and thus not have to live under his parents’ rules. To mark the occasion, Tracy organized an event. However, Macin never made an appearance.

To help bring in new leads, Tracy and Darrin announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to his safe return.

In April 2016, the family were given his computer’s hard drive, which they tried to decrypt to see if there was any information on there that investigators had missed. It is currently unknown if they were able to access the information on the hard drive.

In July 2016, a tip was called in from West Valley, Utah. Two girls claimed to have interacted with Macin at a Panda Express, where he asked them for bus change. The encounter had been memorable because of how polite the boy had been. To confirm that who they had spoken to was Macin, Tracy had the two girls call into his voicemail, which was still active. Upon hearing his voice, they were able to verify that it was him, given his speech impediment.

Despite the girls’ certainty, the sighting is still considered to be unconfirmed.

Four searches were conducted in 2016, but none of them produced any new leads.

On October 14, 2017, searchers looking along the Virgin River found an XL white t-shirt on its banks. It appeared to have been there a while and was worn and covered in mud. This was seen by the family as a potential clue, given Macin often wore block colours and was an XL in t-shirts.

In September 2018, a search was done of the desert trenches near the family’s home and covered a two-mile radius. Nothing of interest was discovered.

Investigators say they are still following up on leads that are called into them.

THEORIES:

1) The general consensus of both Macin’s family and investigators is that he ran away from home due to his parents taking away his electronics the night before. This theory is supported by the various sightings of Macin that have been called in to investigators, particularly the ones in Las Vegas and West Valley. However, the fact he didn’t take any clothes or his wallet with him has led some to believe he had another motive the morning of his disappearance.

2) There are some who believe Macin died by suicide either the day he disappeared or sometime close after. This is supported by his history of depression and the note that was discovered in his wallet. However, various searches of the area around his house have yet to uncover a body or evidence that a suicide occurred.

AFTERMATH:

To help keep Macin’s disappearance in the public eye, his family have set up the Help Find Macin Smith Facebook page. Those who are members of the group are known as Macin’s Army.

Tracy initially kept Macin’s phone plan active, as his number was the only one he knew by heart. However, she has since disconnected the line.

Macin’s parents have since divorced, citing the burden of his disappearance as one of the primary causes. While Tracy believes her son to be alive, Darrin is of the belief he is dead.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Macin Smith went missing from St. George, Utah on September 1, 2015. He was 17-years-old and while what he was last seen wearing is unknown, it’s believed he was wearing black Nike sneakers with blue soles and green eyelets and accents. At the time of his disappearance, he was 6’4″ and weighed approximately 200 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes.

Currently, his case is classified as a juvenile runaway. If alive, he would be 20 years old.

If you have any information regarding the case, you can contact the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.

Image Credit: The Spectrum

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