December 1, 2012
Family, friends and people looking to lend a helping hand gathered near the Amtrak train station in Charlottesville Saturday to find 19-year-old Dashad Smith. He's been missing for 11 days.
"Just wanting it to hurry up and come to an end, hopefully with good news,"said Latasha Grooms, Smith's mother.
A group of about 80 people split up to search along railroad tracks hoping to find any clothing or clues that would link back to Smith.
Smith was supposed to meet up with an acquaintance, Erik McFadden, on Nov. 20 at the Amtrak station. Police say McFadden told them he talked with Smith on the day he disappeared but never met up with him.
Police say they have reason to believe McFadden has now left the area, and they are unable to find him.
Smith was also a transgender teen. It's something relatives say he wasn't ashamed to be.
"Dashad was very proud of who he was," said Grooms. "He was comfortable in his skin and he did not hide who he was."
For some people, Smith had a strong impact in their lives. Carmelita Estrellita is a friend of Smith's, who knew him by his nickname, Sage.
"To me, he was a very beautiful and courageous young man and was also transgender. And for me, being in that same category, he was a hero to me," said Estrellita.
The show of support didn't go unnoticed.
"The tremendous support today and all the family and everything, it's very touching," said Estrellia.
No major clues were found through Saturday's search.
If you have any information on Smith or McFadden, call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.