March 2, 2013
It's been more than three months since family and friends have seen or heard from Dashad "Sage" Smith. The Charlottesville man disappeared days before Thanksgiving.
"Somebody has got to know something," said Smith's grandmother, Lolita Smith. She begs for anyone with information to step up. "Please come forward and help us bring Dashad home."
Family members are critical of the investigative work being done by Charlottesville Police to find Smith. "I think the police could do more," said Kenneth Jackson, a cousin of Smith. "From the beginning this whole investigation was haphazardly handled. I know for a fact we've gone through two lead investigators."
Jackson says police were slow to respond because Smith is transgender.
"They will say that doesn't make a difference, but growing u pin Charlottesville, I can tell you it does," Jackson said. "They are very, very slow to react when something happens to a member of the gay community in this city."
But during an interview earlier this month, Charlottesvile's police chief said Smith's disappearance is a priority for the department.
"We've exhausted a lot of resources to find out what happened here and unfortunately we're no further along than we were a few weeks ago," said Chief Timothy Longo. "We are still actively investigating and it's a priority for this police department but I wish I had information to report but the fact of the matter is, I don't."
Police say Smith was supposed to meet up with a man named Eric McFadden the night he disappeared. McFadden told the police the meeting never took place, but days later, he disappeared. Police say McFadden is a person of interest in the investigation. In January, police sifted through trash at a Henrico landfill looking for clues in the case but that search didn't turn up any new information.
All of the dead ends leave Smith's family with unanswered questions and frustrations.
"Give us the answers we want and we wont be pushy," said Smith's grandmother, Lolita. "That's all I'm asking for and I don't think I'm being unfair. It's been three months and no word from my grandchild. We need answers."
Anyone with information about Dashad "Sage" Smith's disappearance is asked to call Charlottesville Police.