Monday, Madison County investigators are actively looking for clues that will lead them to Lauren Smith. Just over two years ago, Smith vanished after being dropped off for a cleaning job.
NBC29 spent the day with the investigator on the case, and he was very candid, saying that these last two years haven't given them much in terms of leads - but he stopped short of calling this a cold case. Police had some information come in last month, but they are hoping for more.
Lauren Smith, 22, was last seen on November 21, 2011 after her cousin dropped her off for a cleaning job at a home in the Brightwood area, but she wasn't there to get a ride home. Investigators say the homeowner of the house told them that his dogs had been let out and the home was unlocked when he returned, but no cleaning had been done. A revolver was missing from the house, that has yet to be recovered.
Lauren was reported missing at 4:30 that afternoon, but surveillance video from a 7-11 shows her visiting a friend there around 3:00 p.m. Investigators are trying to piece together what may have happened during that window of time after she left the convenience store.
"And that was the last that we knew, that she was dressed in the Longwood, dark blue hooded sweatshirt. We originally were given a different clothing description by the cousin that dropped her off, since that time, we've received virtually no credible information as to her whereabouts," said Greg Garrett of the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
Garrett says on the day she went missing, Lauren did have a large amount of cash on her. A friend had given her money to buy a car.
Lauren was also an avid gamer, where she played games online with people all over the world, but there were no leads there either. Some thought that Smith may have traveled out of the area, but her credit cards, passport, and driver's license were in the car that she shared with her cousin.
Lauren's mother, Emily Carver, is still reaching out - hoping that someone knows what happened to her daughter and comes forward.
Carver says she has been through a lot throughout her life, but described her daughter's disappearance as the most crushing. She still hangs on to Lauren's Longwood University blanket, where she was pursuing her social services practitioner degree.
Carver said she called Lauren on the day she went missing but didn't reach her. Lauren returned her mom's call with a message saying she would try again, but wasn't heard from after that.
"I'm normally just watching the roads and looking for her all the time. It's hard to explain," said Carver. "She loved to travel, but she always made sure we all knew where she was going and when she'd be home. And when she was home, she was home. She didn't run the roads or carry on with anybody."
If you have any information about the case, call the Madison County Sheriff's Office at 540-948-5161.
Sign Up for Email Alerts
Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.