Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mother and Son Vanish

Update: I am very sad to report the discovery of the body of Shantina's beautiful son. Three weeks ago his small body was found washed a shore 18 miles from where their car was found. Shantina remains missing, but it is believed she may have washed out into the Pacific Ocean. Is she still out there?

Shantina Smiley 29 years old and her 8 year old son are missing from Thurston County, Washington. The details of their disappearance are chilling, bizarre, confusing and frustrating.

How could so many things go wrong so quickly?

On Saturday evening Shantina left her home with her son in her fiances' minivan to head on a 200 mile drive to visit with her stepfather, who she had not seen since her mother's death a few years ago. Her fiance was to meet them later after a Cub Scout leader meeting he had to attend. He was going to be an hour behind her riding his motorcycle.

The first thing that began the downward spiral of bad luck for Shantina was that she began her car drive and then realized she left her cell phone at home. It has been reported that her fiance Robb says, he called Shantina and asked her to take his cellphone charger with her because his phone battery was dying, she did, but then later called him to ask him to bring her cellphone with him. He informed Shantina that he was already in route and could not go back to get her phone.

It is unfortunate that Shantina was missing her cellphone and that her fiance was about to lose all of his battery power.

Shantina left her home at about 5:00pm, by 6:50pm, she realized her cellphone was gone and stopped to use a pay phone to call her fiance, she indicated to him that she left her cellphone home and that she was lost somewhere in the town of Olympia, but that she will find her way. She also complained of traffic and her son being hungry.

By 7:54pm she had not yet reached her destination and is captured on video surveillance entering a store by the name of Handy Pantry, she is smiling in the video and does not seem upset. Shantina is seen asking for directions and going over a map with the cashier, and yet when offered the map, Shantina does not take it.

She purchases some items and leaves the store.

9:08 pm - Shantina and her son enter a diner miles away from the Handy Pantry, it seems she is still lost. She orders some food for her son and pays for the food. While they are waiting, the little boy tells a waitress that his mother hit her head. Then in a bizarre move, Shantina leaves the diner without the food she paid for. Video surveillance shows Shantina tripping and falling outside of the diner, then getting up and driving away with her son.

9:54 pm - Shantina is again captured by a video surveillance camera at another location, this time a gas station in Gull Harbor. It is believed she stopped to use the pay phone there, but discovered it was out of service.

10:00 pm - Shantina heads south of Gull Harbor and pulls into the private driveway of a home, she asks to please use their phone. She tells them she is lost and needs to make a call. They allow her entry and say they feed her son a slice of pizza because he told them he was hungry. Shantina calls her grandparents, tells them she was in an accident but is okay, she tells them she is lost and will be late. It is believed the accident she is speaking of is the fall she took outside of the diner, but authorities can't be sure. Her son tells the people at the home that his mother hurt her knee.

Shantina is again given simple instructions by the family who owned the home on how to get back on the highway. She drives away from the home and turns in the opposite direction of where she was told to go.

Shantina and her son never make it to their destination. By 10:00 am the next morning her car is found abandoned on a beach miles North from her last location. The rear of the car seems to have been backed up into the water and jammed. The back hatch of the van was open as was the side door. There was no sign of the mother and son, no sign of a struggle. Shantina's wallet was in the van with her cash and credit cards. Her purse is gone, but nothing else out of the ordinary. The troubling thing about this area is the path leading to the open beach. Authorities say the dirt path it is extremely narrow, difficult to find and is not a road you can easily turn onto in an error while looking for an interstate. How could Shantina have mistakenly gone down this road and into the water by mistake?

The water has been searched and continues to be searched. It is important to note that the tide was low that evening at about 1.7 feet, but by morning the tide had risen to about 14 feet! Which means if Shantina and her son were asleep in the car, the water would have risen to about the top of the seats in the minivan and then receded again.

Was this an accident?

There is a lot of speculation on the web about Shantina being a recovering alcoholic who recently fell of the wagon due to stress. Was the fall outside of the diner due to her being drunk?

Why did her son tell the waitress his mother hurt her head? Had they been in an accident before the diner stop? It has been reported that the van did have a dent in the bumper, did Shantina get into a minor accident, hurt her head and become disoriented?

The family who let her into their home seem to think she was scared and upset because she was lost, but they did not believe she was in any danger.

Can someone who is drunk really find a narrow dirt road to drive on and honestly mistakenly drive their car backwards into the water?

Authorities say there were many homes along the water with porch lights on that would have been visible to Shantina should she have wandered onto the beach.

They say the road that leads to the beach was difficult to maneuver and find in the daylight and therefore cannot imagine she could have found herself lost there in the pitch darkness of the night before.

What happened to Shantina and her son?

Could she have stopped and asked the wrong person for directions? Could this be merely a case of bad choices, bad luck and a crime of opportunity? Could she have walked herself and her son into the hands of a waiting predator?

Or was Shantina intoxicated and driving in circles in her confusion, just to end up in the water with her son unable to find her way out of the water in the cold and darkness?

Or is Shantina purposely missing, did she stage this entire thing due to stress and an emotional break? Is she safely out there? Or did she hurt herself and her son?

Do we know everything? Is there more to this story? Something does not fit for me.

I really hope Shantina and her precious boy are found alive. I am spooked by this story because I am very bad with directions and I imagine myself in Shantina's shoes, afraid, alone, driving in circles, no cellphone and in a place I have never been.

If you have any information on this case, please call 360 493 2222.

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