Friends, Family of DaShad Smith Start New Initiative
The mystery of the missing Charlottesville man DaShad Sage Smith has moved friends and family to start a new group to make sure no one is forgotten.
The group gathered Friday night to bring awareness to the new initiative, RAISE for SAGE. RAISE stands for Respect for All Individuals in Society Everywhere, and SAGE stands for Searching And Grieving Everywhere.
"We're trying to raise funds, raise awareness to help bring DaShad Sage Smith home as well as many others and bring closure to many other open cases," said Kenneth Jackson, Smith's cousin.
Smith was last seen on November 20, 2012. It's been nearly three months since his disappearance and while his family wants to see him come home, they say there's also a bigger picture.
"This is more than just about one person. This is actually trying to organize a community so there's always a system in place anytime someone goes missing or there's an unsolved mystery," Jackson said.
"And other people that are missing because that's what this is all about. SAGE is to bring people in the surrounding counties, anybody that really needs help, because we don't want anybody's child missing. That's the worst feeling in the world," said Lolita Smith, DaShad's grandmother.
Dozens of supporters in the community came out to celebrate the new initiative through prayer and song. The group hopes to have its first meeting in the coming weeks.
Organizers say this is just the beginning.
"This is the first step in what's going to be a long, long-time thing. Even when DaShad comes home, this program will still be in place and still go on for those who are missing," Jackson said.
But even with new ways to try to help bring their loved one home, every day is a struggle.
"I just miss him. I have my good days and my bad days – more bad days than good days – so I think it's good to uplift a lot of people," Lolita Smith said.
Charlottesville police say that there are no new developments at this time, but investigators are continuing to work on the case.
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