Charlottesville Police Offer New Details in Dashad 'Sage' Smith Case
Police are releasing new details in the disappearance of transgendered teenager, Dashad “Sage” Smith. Smith was last seen on West Main Street on November 20, 2012.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Investigators with the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) are releasing new details about the disappearance case of a transgendered teenager.
Dashad “Sage” Smith vanished from along West Main Street almost three years ago.
Police are now saying the only person of interest in the case likely didn't have a hand in the disappearance.
Investigators working the case have released a new timeline of events from the night Smith vanished. Detectives say Smith left home to meet Erik McFadden at the Amtrak Train Station about 5:40 p.m. on November 20, 2012.
- 5:17 p.m. - Smith sends text message to Erik McFadden, “When r u leaving”
- 5:20 p.m. - McFadden replies, “I already did. I’m at the Hampton Inn.”
- 5:17 to 5:40 p.m. - Smith and McFadden exchange various text messages.
- At approximately 5:40 PM Smith leaves his residence.
- 6:08 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Where u at?”
- 6:12 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “I’m standing here where r u?”
- 6:18 to 6:37 p.m. - Smith talking on his phone with friend from Northern Virginia. Texts from McFadden come in during this time frame, but it is unknown if Smith read them.
- 6:27 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Bye u stood me up smh”
- 6:35 p.m. - Witness sees Smith walking on 4th Street NW. Smith stops and talks to witness at a bus stop in the 400 block of West Main Street. Smith tells witness he is going to meet someone at the Amtrak Station.
- 6:40 p.m. - Smith walks westbound on West Main Street.
- 7:00 p.m. - Unconfirmed account puts Smith alone at Wild Wing Café, which is next to the train state.
A separate witness said three “cross-dressers” were seen inside the restaurant that evening. No video was available to assist in identifying them or to verify Smith was there. Police also note that there is no one that saw Smith at the train station.
According to a witness, Smith was wearing grey and black rain boots with purple and pink lining, grey sweatpants, and a black jacket with a hoodie.
McFadden told police the meeting never happened. McFadden had sent an email to his girlfriend saying he did meet with Smith, but added he was scared off by a group of approaching people.
McFadden disappeared a few days later, and has been considered a person of interest in the case.
Police are now backing off of McFadden for several reasons: Investigators don't believe McFadden had the means to dispose of a body. "Phone records indicate that they may not have gotten together at all," said CPD Captain Gary Pleasants.
"Someone somewhere at some point in time saw Dashad that afternoon. Maybe they saw him walking up the street alone. Maybe they saw him walking with someone else. Maybe they saw him get into a car, or go into a building. That's the person we need to hear from," said CPD Chief Tim Longo.
Chief Longo is also publicly talking about raising the reward for information. "I would like to think it would be more than money, but you know in this case we're taking every step we can to persuade people," he stated.
"Any little thing, any little thing can help us. It's been three years and we're getting pretty desperate. I know I am, as a mother, I'm desperate to know where my baby is," said Latasha Grooms, Smith’s mother.
Police plan to be out in the area of West Main Street Friday, Nov. 20. They will be putting up missing person posters to generate new leads.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
A $20,000 reward is currently being offered in the case.