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Sometime after March 10, 2008, a bit more than six years ago, something happened to Israel R. Smith of Wytheville, Virginia. It seems to have happened at home. And nobody has the slightest clue what it might have been.
Is (that was his nickname) seemed to be a pretty normal guy. Age 28, he had a 7 year old son by a woman with whom he was no longer involved; the son lived at his mother’s house but spent most weekends at Israel’s apartment. Israel worked at a local Radio Shack and was a model employee. March 10 was the last day he was seen at work. After his shift he visited his brother and also talked to his mother, with whom he was close. Then he went home, and [insert unknown event here]. There was no trace of him after that, whatever that was.
Is’s mother became concerned over the next few days when he didn’t turn up for his brother’s birthday party. He also missed work, which was uncharacteristic. She knocked on his door and left notes for him but he didn’t respond. His car was seen in the apartment complex driveway, never moving for days. Finally his mother called the police and had them check on him.
When the police entered Is’s apartment–which was unlocked–it looked as if he’d stepped out and would be back at any moment. The TV was on and so was his video game system. His keys were on the coffee table. There was a basket of clean laundry nearby. But there was no sign of him.
Israel may have been seen late at night on March 11 at a local gas station, but that sighting is unconfirmed. Certainly by March 14, the day the police did the check, he was gone.
This is the most baffling kind of missing persons case there is. Israel Smith wasn’t involved in drugs or shady activity so far as anyone knows. It’s extremely unlikely he would walk out on his life and especially his 7-year-old son. If he left his apartment voluntarily–evidently just before or shortly after he sat down to play a video game–there’s not a single clue to suggest why, or with whom. The trail is just cold. Six years on, there’s just nothing–nothing at all.
Here’s Israel Smith’s case file on Charley Project. The contact for information–that is, if you have any–is the Wytheville Police Department, 276-223-3300.