Balloons Released in Honor of Missing Person’s Birthday

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Thursday night, family and friends marked a missing man's birthday.

DaShad Smith of Charlottesville has been missing for more than three weeks. Thursday was his 20th birthday. Family and friends gathered in Lee Park to let send rainbow-colored balloons in his honor.

Police say Smith, a transgendered teen who also goes by "Sage," was last seen on November 20th near the Charlottesville Amtrak station. Police are also looking for Erik McFadden, who they say had contact with Smith on the same night he disappeared. McFadden told police that meeting never happened, and suddenly left town.

Family and friends say they are still hopeful that Smith will come home safely.

"The longer things get, the harder it is to keep faith and I'm really trying to keep what little bit I got left you know, but we want to keep awareness, we want people to know that DaShad is our dear, Sage is our dear, and we want Sage to come home," said Lolita Smith, DaShad's grandmother.

Smith's family and friends have organized a number of events to keep his case in the public eye: a search party around the Amtrak station, a candlelight vigil and march, and now this balloon release. They say they don't want Smith's case to get swept under the rug, and most importantly they want answers.

Anyone with information on this case should call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.