Michelle Parker who disappeared on the same day an episode of 'The People's Court' TV show aired featuring her and her ex-fiance.
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The ex-fiancé of a missing Orlando area woman has been named as the primary suspect in her disappearance, Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney announced during a news conference on Monday.
The search for MIchelle Parker is now in its twelfth day. Parker disappeared on Nov. 17 after she appeared on a taped episode of "The People's Court," on which she and her ex-fiancé, Dale Smith, appeared to settle a dispute over a $5,000 engagement ring. Parker's black Hummer was found a day later in the Mall at Millenia area. Her family first thought that the 33-year-old mother of three was carjacked shortly after her appearance on the show.
"Many questions will be asked why Dale Smith wasn't considered a primary suspect prior to today, and the answer is, we had to look at every aspect in the case before we could come out publicly and state that Mr. Smith is our primary focus," said Chief Rooney. "I will not go into details about the case, but I will say that we are putting forth all of our resources to bring Michelle home."
On Saturday, the Orlando Police Department's SWAT team raided the home of Dale Smith Sr., father of the suspect. Police have not said what led them to the house on Rose Blvd. in Orlando or if they found anything there.
"This is a sad day really," said a tearful Yvonne Stewart, Michelle's mother. "I think it was inevitable."
Stewart joined Chief Rooney at the news conference where she made a public plea for Smith Jr. to come forward. "Dale, honestly, if you're out there honey, and you're listening to me, I have always said since day one, it's okay if couples fight. I've fought. I fought with my sister. I've fought with my husband. I've fought with my kids. If you made a mistake, and it was just a second of like, 'Oh, I've lost my head,' or you didn't know what to do, our family needs Michelle home."
Investigators said that Smith had been cooperating with authorities but recently declined a request to take a polygraph, or "lie detector," test.
"I don't understand why he would refuse helping," said Michelle's sister Lauren Erickson. "This is the mother of his children."
Police continue to urge anyone with information about Parker's whereabouts to call 1-800-423-8477. A reward is being offered to anyone who has information which leads to her safe return.
"My daughter is still not found. She is still missing. I am so sad that this has happened, but we have to do what we have to do," said Stewart. "We still need to find Michelle. In my heart, I know she's out there somewhere, and we need her. We need to find her.