Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

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Normal Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:33 am

Posted: 11/29/2012 9:52 am EST Updated: 11/29/2012 10:14 am EST
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Have you seen missing teen Dashad Smith?

Virginia police are asking for help in finding a Charlottesville resident wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance of a transgender teen.

Authorities have released a picture of Erik Tyquan McFadden, 21, who had phone contact with Dashad Smith on Nov. 20, the day she went missing.
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According to Charlottesville Police Lt. Ronnie Roberts, police spoke with McFadden directly after Smith was reported missing.

McFadden allegedly admitted he had spoken with Smith and said the two had planned to meet on Nov. 20. However, McFadden told investigators the meeting never took place, police said.

Authorities say they now have reason to believe McFadden has left the Charlottesville area. However, his current whereabouts are unknown. While authorities say they would like to speak with McFadden again, no warrant has been issued for his arrest. He has also not been named a suspect or person of interest in Smith's disappearance.

According to a Facebook page attributed to McFadden, he was born on March 1, 1991. The page claims he is a graduate of Joppatowne High School in Harford County, Maryland and a student of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. The last public post was made on Nov. 5. It was an upload of the photo of McFadden that police have released to the media.

Smith, 19, also known as Sage, Sagey and Unique, was last seen Nov. 20, in the 500 block of West Main Street in Charlottesville. Smith was last seen wearing a black jacket, dark-gray sweatpants, a black scarf and gray boots, police said.

Smith was supposed to go on a date with McFadden the evening she disappeared, her father, Dean Smith, told The Huffington Post.

"I had talked to my son on Nov. 20. I talked to him about 5 or 5:30 p.m.," Dean Smith said. "After that he did not answer his phone. His roommate said he was going to meet a guy by the name of Erik McFadden. I guess they were going on date or whatever."

Dashad Smith is known to dress as both a man and a woman. Smith's mother, Latasha Grooms, said her family refers to Dashad Smith as a "he" but said her child identifies with both genders.

"His Gay community says 'she' but his family still says 'he'. It does not bother him," she told The Huffington Post on Wednesday.

Dashad Smith is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She has a piercing in her left eyebrow.

The Black And Missing But Not Forgotten organization has been helping raise awareness about Smith's disappearance. A Facebook page has also been created to help raise awareness.

On Wednesday night, Smith's family and friends held a candlelight vigil for her in Lee Park. During the vigil, they prayed for her safe return and pleaded for anyone with information to come forward, Charlottesville's NBC 29 reported.

Anyone who has seen or heard from Smith or McFadden is asked to call the Charlottesville Police Department at 434-977-9041 or Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:35 am

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:36 am

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:57 am

Family member of missing Charlottesville teen questions city's response

Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 9:38 pm | Updated: 9:27 am, Tue Dec 4, 2012.
Posted on December 3, 2012
by Graham Moomaw

A family member of missing Charlottesville teenager DaShad "Sage" Smith lambasted the city’s response to his disappearance Monday night, saying that the city’s black, poor and gay communities "are not feeling safe."
Kenneth Jackson, of Rice, asked to address the City Council at Monday’s meeting, saying he was once proud of Charlottesville, his hometown.

"But I can’t brag on Charlottesville when my little 19-year-old cousin is missing," Jackson said, adding that the FBI and state police should be called in to help with the search.

He then turned to address city Police Chief Timothy J. Longo, who was sitting in the chamber.

"Chief, the police department has not done what it’s supposed to do to find our child," Jackson said.

In an interview, Longo said his department has brought in outside resources to help with the search for Smith, but he can't lay out details about everything police are doing due to the fact that a suspect may still be at large.

"This is a top priority for us," Longo said. "It will continue to be a top priority until we find this young man and, by the grace of God, bring him home."

Numerous vigils and search parties have been organized since Smith, who is transgendered, went missing on Nov. 20. The teen was supposed to meet city resident Eric McFadden at the Amtrak station on West Main Street, but McFadden told police Smith never showed up. Police now believe McFadden has left town. He is wanted for further questioning, but is not considered a suspect.

Amy Marshall, the president of LGBT group Charlottesville Pride Community Network, also criticized city councilors for taking the time to show up to the city’s first gay-pride festival earlier this year, but failing to show up to a vigil for Smith that was held in Lee Park last Wednesday. All the councilors showed up the festival organized by the Pride group, Marshall said, but just one showed up at the vigil.

"Supporting LGBT equality in Charlottesville is not just about going to the fun events," Marshall said.

Marshall said she appreciates the efforts of community members and police, but there is still a perception that the media and the city at large have not given the case the attention it deserves.

"People look to past cases of missing persons where the family had resources to hire a PR firm in order to keep the issue constantly out in front of the public eye and they wonder if what it looks like is true: That we live in a city that says it is liberal but still, when it comes down to it, privileges money, race, social status," Marshall said.

She then urged officials to participate in upcoming rallies and vigils against anti-gay sentiment.

Multiple city councilors professed their dedication to the cause of finding Smith, but some said they were out of town and weren’t told that the vigil was taking place.

"I’m sorry that we weren’t there. But we can’t read minds," said Councilor Kristin Szakos, who assured the audience that she was "thinking a lot about DaShad."
Councilor Kathy Galvin thanked the police department for doing everything in its power to find Smith.

"We are all committed to finding DaShad," Galvin said.
Councilor Dave Norris, who held up a missing-person poster featuring Smith at the beginning of the meeting, said he had spoken personally to Smith’s immediate family.

"We really do hope that he comes home soon," Norris said.

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:21 pm

Searching for Sage: Family mourns missing teen, demands answers

By Courteney Stuart | [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Published online 4:27pm Friday Dec 7th, 2012

Two weeks after Dashad Smith vanished without a trace and with police remaining tight lipped about the progress of the search, the teenager's grandmother is struggling to cope.

"I'm so lost," says 53-year-old Lolita Smith, sitting and crying in the living room of the duplex she inhabits on Orangedale Avenue. Known to friends and family as "Cookie," Smith describes a world come undone since the pre-Thanksgiving disappearance.

The oldest of her 14 grandchildren, Dashad has always had a special connection to the grandmother who raised him for about five years of his early childhood. She says he would continue to telephone her nearly every day.

"He's a very caring person," says Smith, speaking through tears about the missing 19-year-old. "He's always trying to help the underdog."

A 2011 graduate of Charlottesville High School, Dashad was last seen on November 20, just two days before Thanksgiving. Police have placed his last sighting at around 6:30pm in the 500 block of West Main, but the young man– who often dressed as a woman– was spotted several times that Tuesday evening, says his cousin Kenneth Jackson.

"People saw him downtown on the red phone at CVS," says Jackson, referring to a phone the drugstore lets customers use.

"They saw him again up in the middle of town near the train station. Then they saw him on the Corner around midnight," insists Jackson, who says he spoke with one witness who told him the teen appeared frightened when she saw him walking with a companion near downtown.

That alleged witness, whom the Hook messaged through Facebook, did not respond to the request for comment, but Jackson says the witness asserted that Dashad was with a white male companion.

That description doesn't match the appearance of the man police say they want to question.

He is 22-year-old Erik McFadden, and according to police, Dashad had phone contact with McFadden on the day of the disappearance and had made plans to meet near the Amtrak station on West Main. After telling police the meeting never happened, McFadden, who, according to his Facebook page attends Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, left town. An official with the University declines to confirm his enrollment.

Two days after the scheduled meeting, Dashad's mother, Latasha Groomes, reported her son missing after he failed to show up for Thanksgiving dinner. Groomes did not respond to a Hook reporter's messages passed to her by police and by the administrator of the "Find Dashad "Sage" Smith" page, which had surpassed 2,600 subscribers on Friday, December 7.

In the wake of the disappearance of the transgendered teen, who went by the name "Sage," family members say the case has failed to garner the level of media or police attention bestowed upon the disappearance of an upper middle class white, blond female.

"We don't want special treatment, just equal treatment," declared a frustrated Kenneth Jackson to Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones in a December 6 conference call.

Jackson contrasts police response to Dashad's disappearance with the wide-ranging investigation into the October 2009 disappearance of Morgan Harrington. In that case, which UVA Police turned over to Virginia State Police within 24 hours, images of searchers with bloodhounds and helicopters filled the airwaves, and the story went national as search organizations clamored to comb properties around Charlottesville and Albemarle.

In Dashad's case, Jackson doesn't believe thorough searches have been conducted, and he fears that with weeks already elapsed, the chance to recover evidence diminishes.

"Dumpsters have already been emptied; it's rained," says Jackson, who fears clues might have already washed away.

Jackson told City Manager Jones that family members would like the Charlottesville Police to obtain FBI and State Police assistance, conduct a citywide search, and ask property owners to search their land– as well as set up meetings between potential witnesses and case's lead detective outside of an interrogation room.

"There are people who may know things who aren't willing to go to the police station," says Jackson.

In a separate phone interview with the Hook, Jones defends Charlottesville police and says investigators have been working diligently.

"From the very beginning of this case, the police have taken the disappearance of Mr. Smith very seriously," maintains Jones. "They're taking all the investigative steps they can to bring Mr. Smith back. We've been in contact with his mother on an almost daily basis."

Charlottesville police spokesperson Ronnie Roberts asserts that the City would refrain from seeking investigative assistance unless it were deemed necessary, something he says is not currently the case.

"We've done a lot that I can't discuss in the investigation," he says. "I don't want to compromise the case itself. He's still missing, and we're still investigating."

While there is no crime scene and no definitive proof of foul play involved in Dashad's disappearance, Lolita Smith says there's no way that her grandson would have left his family without word. She recalls such a particularly close relationship that made her, she believes, the first relative to learn when Dashad came out of the closet several years ago.

"I always knew, in my heart of hearts, that Dashad was gay, but I was waiting for him to acknowledge it, to bring it to me," says Smith. "He came and said, 'I got something to tell you, and I don't want you to hate me.'"

"I said, you are still my grandchild, and I don't love you any less," she recalls. "He knew he could tell me anything."

Dashad's father, Dean Smith, agrees that his son wouldn't have done anything to cause his grandmother anguish. "They have a real deep bond," says Dean Smith, noting that while he initially struggled to accept his son's sexual orientation, he eventually came to terms with it and encouraged Dashad to "be himself."

He spoke with Dashad, he says, for more than half an hour at around 5pm on November 20, the day he disappeared, and Dean Smith says his son expressed excitement about going to his mother's house for Thanksgiving. "He said, 'I'll call you tomorrow,'" the father recalls. "Then he didn't call."

With his December 13 birthday approaching and no information on what may have happened to Dashad, his family's fear and grief have mounted, and for his grandmother, it is to an almost unbearable degree.

"I have been questioning God," she says through sobs, wondering how she will cope if Dashad never comes home. She also expresses confusion, she says, over the fact that Dashad's two closest friends have not reached out to her, and have, she says, left town rather than helping with searches or attending the vigil that was held in downtown's Lee Park on Wednesday, November 28.

Without answers, there's nothing to do, she says, but wait and pray.

"I just miss him," says Smith. "I want him back. It's getting harder and harder every day to just hold on to the belief that he's coming home."

Another vigil for Dashad "Sage" Smith will take place Saturday, December 8 at 6:30pm beginning at grandmother Lolita Smith's house at 731 Orangedale Avenue. Attendees will walk from there to the Amtrak station to bring attention to the case.

Anyone with information about the case should contact Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

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Normal Timeline: Tracking the Dashad Smith case

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:07 pm

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:17 am

where is sage smith? ›
tinyspiritz:

Unless you’ve been following the work of Monica Roberts, The Opposing Views and David Lohr over at The Huffington Post, you probably don’t know that a trans teenage girl from Charlottesville, Va., has been missing for nearly 20 days. By flipping through mainstream newspapers or watching the evening news — both nationally and locally — you wouldn’t know that Sage Smith, 19, was reportedly last seen by her family on Nov. 20, and police, despite allegedly “working daily on the case,” haven’t been able to locate a suspect, a man whom they had previously interviewed. You also wouldn’t know that her family and friends have had to organize their own search-and-rescue missions, because by most estimations the police aren’t doing enough, and judging by their comments to media, they have little if any respect for transgender individuals.

Since Sage Smith was first reported missing on Nov. 22, there has been virtually no mainstream media coverage of her abduction. There has only been one local story produced, and in it reporters consistently use the wrong pronouns to identify her, and the story only mentions the name she lives by once, as though it were a nickname. Even worse, the local authorities who are spearheading the search for her have reportedly lost their suspect without much hope of finding him.

“I can’t brag on Charlottesville when my little 19-year-old cousin is missing,” Kenneth Jackson, Sage Smith’s cousin, told members of the Charlottesville City Council on Monday, adding that the FBI and state police should be called in to help with the search. “Chief, the police department has not done what it’s supposed to do to find our child,” Jackson said.

As the search for Sage continues, so do the questions about the police investigation, including how they managed to interview the main suspect only to have him slip away without any trace. There’s also something to be said for the lack of attention Smith’s story has garnered both locally and national.

To call the mainstream media’s silence on Sage Smith’s story deafening would be an understatement. Really, it’s bigger. That someone’s son or daughter, trans-identified or not, can go missing from their family for nearly 20 days and there be no national or even local outcry is more than enraging; it’s terrifying.

Sadly enough, the media’s shameful history of turning a blind eye to stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of color is well known to those of us who are of these communities or who watch the media carefully. And sadly, very little attention is paid to the LGBTQ young people who make up as much as 40 percent of our country’s homeless youth population.

The failure to show LGBTQ people of color as active and vital members of our communities and families perpetuates the dangerous stereotype that LGBTQ people of color are either nonexistent or that our identities are invalid. The media has failed to shine light on the targeted violence that trans women of color continue to endure. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 40 percent of anti-LGBT murder victims in 2011 were transgender women; there have been 11 reported murders of trans women in the U.S. this year alone. The media have also failed to contextualize that violence alongside the discrimination that trans women of color face as a result of racism, misogyny and transphobia, and most Americans are unaware of these severe disparities in access and opportunity. Were any of these things factors in Sage’s disappearance? We don’t know. But by ignoring her story, the media are further alienating an already marginalized community and identity. We’ve seen this story before. Remember Mitrice Richardson? She was a 24-year-old African-American lesbian woman who was missing for nearly a year before police uncovered her dead body.

Telling the stories of LGBTQ people of color is more than simply the right thing to do; it is a matter of journalistic integrity. When outlets make a choice not to tell certain stories, especially those that affect communities as deeply as Sage’s, they lose value and credence with audiences and communities. It also sends the message that certain stories and perspectives are more valuable than others. If Sage Smith has met the same fate as Mitrice Richardson, could more media attention early on have saved her life?

Sage Smith’s story, her family’s pain and her community’s concern are as valid as any other story, and these voices deserve to be heard. So again, I and the rest of the community ask: Where is Sage Smith?

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:58 am

Posted: Sat 1:03 PM, Mar 02, 2013A A Reporter: Rachel Ryan Email

Family of Dashad "Sage" Smith Say Police Need to Do More

March 2, 2013

It's been more than three months since family and friends have seen or heard from Dashad "Sage" Smith. The Charlottesville man disappeared days before Thanksgiving.

"Somebody has got to know something," said Smith's grandmother, Lolita Smith. She begs for anyone with information to step up. "Please come forward and help us bring Dashad home."

Family members are critical of the investigative work being done by Charlottesville Police to find Smith. "I think the police could do more," said Kenneth Jackson, a cousin of Smith. "From the beginning this whole investigation was haphazardly handled. I know for a fact we've gone through two lead investigators."

Jackson says police were slow to respond because Smith is transgender.

"They will say that doesn't make a difference, but growing u pin Charlottesville, I can tell you it does," Jackson said. "They are very, very slow to react when something happens to a member of the gay community in this city."

But during an interview earlier this month, Charlottesvile's police chief said Smith's disappearance is a priority for the department.

"We've exhausted a lot of resources to find out what happened here and unfortunately we're no further along than we were a few weeks ago," said Chief Timothy Longo. "We are still actively investigating and it's a priority for this police department but I wish I had information to report but the fact of the matter is, I don't."

Police say Smith was supposed to meet up with a man named Eric McFadden the night he disappeared. McFadden told the police the meeting never took place, but days later, he disappeared. Police say McFadden is a person of interest in the investigation. In January, police sifted through trash at a Henrico landfill looking for clues in the case but that search didn't turn up any new information.

All of the dead ends leave Smith's family with unanswered questions and frustrations.

"Give us the answers we want and we wont be pushy," said Smith's grandmother, Lolita. "That's all I'm asking for and I don't think I'm being unfair. It's been three months and no word from my grandchild. We need answers."

Anyone with information about Dashad "Sage" Smith's disappearance is asked to call Charlottesville Police.

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Normal Re: Missing Dashad 'Sage' Smith/ Erik McFadden Wanted For Questioning

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:14 am

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