Police call Michelle Parker case 'active'

Parker, 34, vanished in November 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Police Department held a news conference Thursday to discuss the disappearance of Michelle Parker, who vanished in November.

Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney called the case "active" and said new law enforcement members will review the case.

Rooney said he hopes the team can develop additional leads.

"This may be the day that somebody decides to call us with information," Rooney said. "It makes it difficult because all we are trying to do is connect the dots and there's just a few more dots that we need to connect to resolve this."

Parker, 34, was last seen dropping off two of her children at the Orlando home of their father, Dale Smith Jr., who has been named the prime suspect in her disappearance.  Smith has not been charged, however.

"My frustration lies in the fact that I'm a mother, this is my child and I don't know where she is and I don't know who did it for sure," said Parker's mother Yvonne Stewart. "If there's anybody out there who has any idea where Michelle might be please call Crimeline-do something."

Meanwhile, Local 6 investigative reporter Tony Pipitone tried to talk to Dale Smith Jr.'s father, Dale Smith Sr., as he appeared in court on marijuana charges. When asked about his son's involvement in the disappearance, his lawyer told Local 6, "Mr. Smith doesn't have any comments at this point in time."

Investigators pressed Smith Sr. in December for information in Parker's disappearance, but he did not provide any information that could have led to his son's arrest.

So prosecutors unearthed a long-dormant case against him, stemming from the June 2010 discovery in his house of one small marijuana plant, a pipe and a small amount of pot. Smith consented to the search after a sheriff's deputy knocked on his door and told him a helicopter spotted the plant growing in the back yard.

He was not charged or arrested and the sheriff's report languished in the prosecutor's office for 18 months, until they realized his son was the prime suspect in Michelle Parker's disappearance.

Smith Sr. was charged with marijuana cultivation and possession. Today, at about the same time Orlando police were holding their new conference, his attorney, Michael Dicembre, persuaded a judge to put the case on hold, dismissing it altogether if Smith successfully completes drug counseling.
Parker disappeared the same day an episode of "The People's Court" aired featuring a dispute between Parker and Smith over an engagement ring.

Smith Jr. has primary custody of the two children he had with Parker. She had previously had primary custody and he had to pay child support until she vanished.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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