Michelle Parker case: DCF removes children from suspect Dale Smith's custody
Dale Smith drives a truck away from his parents' home in Orlando on Tuesday, November 29, 2011. On Monday, the Orlando Police Department officially named Smith a suspect in the disappearance of his ex-fiance Michelle Parker who has been missing since November 17. (Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel)
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333 E Oak Ridge Rd, Orlando, FL 32809, USA
The state agency obtained a court-order to remove the children immediately and place them temporarily in protective custody.
An emergeny hearing will be held Wednesday morning.
Earlier this afternoon, an attorney representing Dale Smith II, the ex-fiancé of Michelle Parker, defended his client as a caring father this afternoon, while criticizing the police who named Smith a suspect in her disappearance.
Smith's lawyer, Mark NeJame, addressed the media on Smith's behalf for the first time about 4 p.m. Tuesday, the day after Orlando police said Smith is their sole suspect.
NeJame accused police of leaking to the media that Smith had refused a lie-detector test. He said the Police Department doesn't allow its officers, when accused of misdeeds, to take those tests.
"Why? Because they know that they're not scientifically reliable," NeJame said. In at-times-heated remarks, he called the actions of Orlando police officials "the epitome of hypocrisy."
NeJame asserted his client's innocence, and said that Smith has not participated in the search for Parker because he is busy taking care of the couple's 3-year-old twins.
"He's done the right thing: providing security" to the children, NeJame said, adding that Smith has given at least three voluntary statements to police during the investigation.
Smith has been laying low since Orlando police officially named him a suspect in his former fiancé's disappearance Monday, but was spotted leaving his parents home before noon today.
Also today, Parker's family retained Morgan & Morgan to represent them.
"We are going to help navigate them through the legal process," lawyer Matt Morgan said. "They are unfamiliar with what they are going through and we will offer guidance and advice."
Morgan said he and his father, high-profile attorney John Morgan, will represent the family.
"We want to make sure everything is being done to find Michelle," Matt Morgan said.
The law firm may hold a news conference Wednesday, he said.
Today marks the first day of searching for Parker since Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney announced Monday that Smith "is our primary focus" in solving the disappearance.
Smith, 40, the father of Parker's 3-year-old twins, is the last person known to have seen her. The two have a violent past.
Parker, 33, was last seen Nov. 17 driving the twins to Smith's townhouse in Carter Glen Condominiums off Goldenrod Road.
Rooney revealed Monday that Smith would not take a lie-detector test as requested.