New clues wash ashore in missing Silverdale woman, son case

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by KING 5 Staff and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on March 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 18 at 9:28 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash.  -- The search is back on for a missing Silverdale mother and her young son.

Earlier this week, Thurston County Sheriff's deputies said they were done looking for Shantina Smiley and her son, Azriel, but some new clues emerged Wednesday.

In surveillance video taken on Saturday at about 8 p.m. at the Safeway on Harrison Ave. in Olympia, Smiley appears to be getting directions. Over night, a neighbor on an adjoining rural road told authorities they heard something the night Smiley and her son disappeared.

"We heard banging on the side of the house," said Rachel Grimmer about the sounds outside her house at 1 a.m. Sunday Morning.  "It just kind of startled us because no one is ever out here, never ever see anyone out here at night."

But the incident was significant to authorities.  It happened three hours after Smiley and her son disappeared, and possibly, after the van went into the water. 

"It tells us they did not wash out in Dana Passage, and this may not be water related at all," said Lt. Chris Mealy of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. 

The mother and son disappeared last weekend while on their way to Castle Rock. The only clue was their van was found partially submerged in Budd Inlet in Olympia. Police have looked at a trail of clues and a timeline, but the case has so far baffled authorities.

Authorities focused again on the nearby beach Wednesday afternoon after someone in the area recovered several items that washed up overnight. Mealy says the items include two mismatched leather shoes, a half-full and capped wine bottle, an inhaler and an orange ball.

"We're going to check with the fiancee to see if those items are related to his fiance or the child or the van," said Mealy.

But, authorities already say the wine bottle's brand, and type matches the same one Smiley is seen on surveillance video purchasing around 8pm Saturday Night.

Boy's father joins search for son

Azriel's father, Jay Carver, flew in to SeaTac Airport late Tuesday night from New York, and says he will go into the woods around Olympia, determined to find his boy.

Carver says he hasn't seen his son in years, but knows he is a good kid.

"We've been actually talking and I was going to actually try and come out and see him this summer but - well, here I am," said Carver.

Carver says he can't begin to guess what led up to Shantina and Azriel's disappearance, but he says he's determined to be the one to solve this mystery. Carver said he planned to rent a car and drive to Olympia, where his former partner and their boy were last seen Saturday night.

"All I know is I want to get into the woods and just find him and I'm going to look for him," said Carver. "I don't know what's going on with the search and everything. I heard it's been called off, but I'm going to go out there and I'm going to find him."

Fiance of missing woman shares more information

Smiley's current boyfriend and fiance said she's an alcoholic who had been under a lot of stress and relapsed last week. But he says she would never endanger the boy.

Detectives said Robb Simmons has started to share a lot more about his relationship with Shantina Smiley, but it hasn't helped them solve the mystery. On Tuesday Simmons revealed she had been under stress lately. He said he's been having health issues and fears he might have cancer. So this past week he suggested they get married.

That's when she started drinking again. But he does not think that played any role in what happened.

"The idea she would stop and drink is not a realistic thing. I do not see her doing that, I don't see herself doing that putting herself at risk, getting in trouble with the law, putting her son at risk," he said.

Detectives say they're trying to learn all they can about Smiley's emotional state and trying to determine if she had any mental or physical health problems Saturday night.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help with any information on Shantina and her son. Contact the Sheriff’s Office at 360-786-5530 or 5500.

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen and Chris Daniels contributed to this report.

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