Mom of 3 Disappeared 6 Years Ago After 'People's Court' Appearance, Ex-Fiance Still Prime Suspect
On November 7, 2011, Michelle Parker’s episode of The People’s Court—in which she argued with her ex-fiancé over a lost engagement ring—aired on TV.
A few hours later, the mother of three vanished, and she has never been seen again.
Florida police said Parker’s former fiancé Dale Wayne Smith remains the prime suspect in their investigation—but that so far, even after all this time, they do not have enough probable cause to arrest him.
On the sixth anniversary of Parker’s disappearance, Detective Michael Moreschi of the Orlando Police Department told Fox News that the investigation remains active. “His status has not changed over the last six years,” Moreschi said of 46-year-old Smith. “He’s an uncharged suspect in the case. There’s no probable cause to arrest him.”
Police have pieced together a timeline of Parker’s last known movements: After spending the morning at a salon owned by her mother in Oviedo, at around 2 P.M., she drove to Smith’s condominium in Orlando to drop off their three-year-old twins for a planned visit. Investigators have said that this was the last known sighting of her.
Parker was reported missing after she failed to show up for her job as a bartender in Sanford. When her brother, Dustin, texted her to ask where she was, he got a reply that read simply, “Waterford.”
But Parker’s friends and family do not believe that this was sent by her, since they stated that she never replied with just one-word texts. They also claim that the devoted mother of three would never have left her children voluntarily.
Police were able to determine that Parker’s phone traveled westward from Smith’s home, and its last ping was off a tower in the Belle Isle area. Parker’s abandoned Hummer was found days later near an apartment complex just west of Mall at Millenia, and her iPhone was discovered by a dive team in a lake.
A 30-second video taken from a traffic camera and released by police in 2013 shows Parker’s Hummer at a red light at about 8:55 P.M. on the day she was last seen. In the video, it can be seen that, weirdly, the decals promoting her business had been removed from the vehicle. “At that point we don’t believe that she’s driving the car,” said Moreschi.
The couple, who friends and family said had a rocky relationship, appeared on The People’s Court to settle the cost of a lost engagement ring. Smith had sued Parker for $5,000, the statutory maximum, for an engagement ring after he claimed she threw it over a hotel balcony during an argument. The judge ruled that Smith and Parker should split the cost.
During the episode, a court reporter called their relationship a “fatal attraction”—chilling in retrospect. The clip from the episode provides a window into a troubled relationship as the couple traded insults.
Smith told the judge that the couple had dated on and off for four years beginning in 2006, and he proposed in Cocoa Beach, Florida, in June 2010. Smith recounted an argument that the couple had that began at DragonCon, a sci-fi convention in Atlanta where Smith had dressed up as Captain America. Smith said that he had made a comment about Parker “sleeping around,.” He said that Parker then threw a drink in his face.
But Parker told the judge that the verbal altercation had turned physical when Smith grabbed her arm. She stated that she became frightened of him, and went back to her room with a police escort to get the rest of her stuff. During the argument, she said she threw the ring over the balcony. She also hit back at his comments about her previous relationship.
“For the five years that we were together I could probably rattle off seven girls found in the house,” Parker said. “He’s cheated on me constantly, and I’ve always tried to keep it together for the kids.”
“He gets pretty malicious and vindictive, and he’s a mean person, especially when been he’s drinking,” Parker said of Smith during the episode. “Any of the problems that we’ve had, it’s always been alcohol related.”
Parker’s disappearance prompted an extensive search of the Orlando area by police and volunteers. A Facebook group devoted to the search for Parker has almost 24,000 followers and posts regular updates about the case.
In 2009, Parker filed a petition for a domestic-violence injunction against Smith. In 2010, Smith was arrested and hit with drug charges including possession of cannabis and selling or manufacturing a controlled substance.
In 2013, Parker’s mother Yvonne Stewart filed a wrongful death suit against Smith in which she alleged that her daughter’s former fiancé “was negligent or otherwise committed a wrongful act” that caused Parker to die. In 2014, a judge ruled that the lawsuit could go forward.
Smith declined to comment when contacted by Fox News.