The Orlando police chief this evening announced that the former fiance of missing Geneva mother Michelle Parker is the only suspect in her disappearance.
Dale Smith II, 40, the father of her 3-year-old twins, is the last person known to have seen her. The couple have a violent past.
Police Chief Paul Rooney today revealed that Smith would not take a lie-detector test as requested.
"We had to look at every aspect of the case before we could come out publicly and state that Mr. Smith is our primary focus," Rooney said.
"He is our primary suspect," Rooney added. "There are no other suspects that I am aware of as Orlando police chief."
Orlando lawyer Mark NeJame and his partner Rajan Joshi are representing Smith, NeJame told the Orlando Sentinel late Monday.
Parker's mother, Yvonne Stewart, appeared with the chief at a news conference and encouraged volunteers to continue to help search for her daughter.
"This is a sad day, really, but I think it was inevitable," Stewart said.
Parker's sister, Lauren Erickson, appealed to Smith.
"I'd say to him directly: Help us," Erickson said.
Parker and Smith appeared on an episode of "The People's Court" that aired shortly before she vanished. They argued about a $5,000 engagement ring that got lost after she threw it at him during an argument. Smith in May sued Parker in civil court, about the time the episode was taped.
In August 2009, Parker requested a domestic-violence injunction against Smith. She said in court papers that he was holding their then-15-month-old daughter when he cursed at her and broke the passenger-side window on her truck during an argument over the children.
Parker told the court that Smith previously had been violent with her and had threatened to kidnap their children. She also said Smith had problems with drugs and alcohol.
The injunction was dismissed Sept. 1, 2009. It is not clear why.
Smith was arrested several times during the 1990s. He pleaded no contest in 1990 to trespassing on school grounds and in 1992 to attempted aggravated battery. He entered a pretrial diversion in 1992 after being arrested on a charge of marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty in 1997 to battery.
In June 1996, Smith joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was court-martialed in 2001 and found guilty of drug and domestic-battery charges, the military agency said. Smith was dishonorably discharged as a private in 2003.
Parker, a Winter Park High School graduate, was scheduled to work the night of her disappearance at a bartending job at The Barn in Sanford, but she never showed up.
Her abandoned Hummer was found Nov. 18 at an apartment complex near Conroy and Vineland roads. Decals for her mobile-tanning business had been removed from the windows.
On Saturday, officers served a search warrant at Smith's parents' home on Rose Boulevard in Orlando, said Sgt. Vincent Ogburn, a police spokesman. He would not reveal what, if anything was found.
Parker's twins are being cared for by Smith's parents, authorities said. She has an 11-year-old son from a previous relationship.
Investigators from the state Department of Children and Families interviewed the children today and are conducting a child-protection investigation because the DCF hotline received reports of past domestic violence between the couple, a spokeswoman said.
Family, friends and volunteers — some strangers to Parker — have been passing out and posting thousands of missing-persons fliers throughout Central Florida. They fan out daily from a command post at Oak Ridge Road near Orange Avenue in south Orlando, near a tower that sent the last transmission from Parker's cellphone.
A Facebook group dedicated to helping locate Parker has gained more than 9,300 followers.
Police urge anyone with information about the case to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477.