DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.
My nephew Macin Smith, 17, disappeared Sept. 1, 2015, in the St. George, Utah, area. Macin has never been heard from since.
His father told police that he had taken Macin’s cellphone and laptop away from him as punishment for watching anime during the night of Aug. 31.
Later, a note written by Macin was discovered in his wallet in his room by his parents, which described the argument that night, a desire by Macin of self-harm Macin and a wish to leave.
Recently, search warrants were released to suggest a crime may have occurred in his disappearance and that his parents, my brother and my sister-in-law, may have been involved in a crime involving their missing son.
“Throughout the investigation, there have been discrepancies between what Macin’s parents, Tracey and Darrin Smith, have told the St. George Police Department, Red Rock Search and Rescue and the media. These discrepancies all point to the fact Tracey and Darrin know more information surrounding Macin’s disappearance then they have disclosed,” police wrote in an affidavit dated June 21, 2017.
The Deseret News and KSL have collected and reviewed nearly a dozen search warrant affidavits filed by St. George police. Several of the warrants state that police are collecting evidence to investigate “the crime or crimes of criminal homicide.”
When a child goes missing, people will come out of the woodwork to help. Psychics, people who had their own children go missing. There is no handbook, no guidance to follow on what to do when a child vanishes or who to trust. But whatever way you chose to act, you will face incredible scrutiny.
I’ve watched enough Law and Order to know they look into the family first.
I don’t know what happened to my nephew. I wasn’t in the house that night. If I had two words to describe my brother and sister-in-law, I would say: “Great father, incredible mother.”
Investigators were concerned enough about the parents’ alleged inconsistent statements that they placed a GPS tracker on Darrin Smith’s pickup truck to monitor his movements, according to an affidavit.
My brother told the Deseret News and KSL that he did not know he had been monitored by police. But he said he welcomed the scrutiny because he believed it would clear his name.
“I’ve got nothing to hide,” he said.
Some of the warrants openly raise questions about the actions and statements from Macin’s parents — including allegations that they never called detectives for updates about the case, that they didn’t participate in searches for their son and made inconsistent statements.
There was an organization, Red Rock Search & Rescue of Las Vegas, that got involved from the beginning. I know because I have firsthand knowledge. They came and took over. Again, you don’t know what to do or who to trust.
They told Darrin and Tracey a couple of things: First, Let us be your contact with the police. (I had several conversations with the head of Red Rock Search & Rescue about contacting the police. In fact, they badmouthed the St. George Police Department to me several times.) Second, I was there when the organization said they wanted my brother and sister-in-law to stay home during the initial searches.
“We were instructed not to go out,” Tracey said they were told.
We don’t want you to find the body of your son, they said. Let us handle it, they said. We know what we’re doing, they said.
I was there. I was there in Las Vegas when my brother and I spent a day and a half combing The Strip, among thousands and thousands of tourists, looking for Macin. And came up empty.
I was assigned the task of being the liaison between the searchers and my brother and sister-in-law.
I would raise my hand over a Bible in a court of law and testify to those facts. I was directly involved. I’m adding my testimony in the court of public opinion.
My brother and sister-in-law were told to stay at home and wait for the phone to ring. What they were instructed to do is now part of a news story that has caused the public to doubt their actions.
This, for me, is a cautionary tale.
Jay Mcfarland hosts the JayMac News Show, weekdays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio, as well as the fictional podcast, Hosts of Eden. KSL Newsradio is part of Bonneville Media and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.