The mystery of what happened to a 29-year-old Silverdale woman and her 8-year-old son Saturday night began on the rocky shores of Little Fish Trap, where the minivan she was driving was discovered stuck in mud at low tide with an open side door and hatchback Sunday morning.
By late Monday, the mystery appeared no closer to being solved.
Shantina M. “Kat” Smiley and her son, Azriel J. Carver, left Silverdale in Kitsap County about 5 p.m. Saturday on a 120-mile drive to the home of Smiley’s stepfather in Castle Rock in Cowlitz County. On Monday, no one had information about why she stopped in Olympia on Saturday night. Both Smiley’s fiancé, Robb Simmons, and a spokesman for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that Smiley had no ties to Thurston County or Olympia.
“We don’t know anybody down here,” said Simmons, who on Monday had joined investigators at Little Fish Trap, northeast of Boston Harbor, near where Smiley’s minivan was found.
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On Monday, members of Thurston County’s dive team searched the sound from a boat for the mother and child. On land, bloodhounds on loan to the sheriff’s office scoured the roadside from Boston Harbor Road to East Bay Drive.
Smiley and her son were last seen by residents of a home on 46th Avenue about 10 p.m. Saturday. Smiley knocked on the door and entered the home to use the phone to call her grandfather, also in Castle Rock, because she was lost, said Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy.
Mealy said the residents of the home told investigators they saw Smiley drive up to and leave the residence in the minivan that was found the next morning.
“They gave her directions to get back to the freeway and the next thing you know, she ends up here,” Mealy said.
To get to the spot where the van was located, Smiley would have had to drive down a steep dirt road adjacent to a private residence where Zangle Road dead ends. Investigators found Smiley’s wallet in the minivan, but her purse was missing.
“The theory that she would drive down here and ditch the van, it’s thin, it’s flimsy,” Simmons said.
Smiley apparently left Silverdale on Saturday without her cell phone, Mealy said. Investigators have been able to trace some of Smiley’s activities in the Olympia area on Saturday night.
A timeline of Smiley’s movements Saturday is as follows:
• Investigators believe Smiley left Silverdale with her son around 5 p.m.
• About 6:45 p.m., she called her fiancé and asked him to bring her cell phone. But at that point, Simmons said, he was already en route to meet her in Castle Rock. Simmons had been at Cub Scout training that ended at 6:45 p.m., according to a Web site he has set up to help find Smiley and her son.
• Smiley stopped at the Handy Pantry on Division Street in west Olympia and made a purchase there around 7:50 p.m.
• Around 9 p.m. Smiley and her son went to the Martin Way Diner. Mealy said a witness said Smiley purchased a corn dog, but did not take it with her after paying for it.
• About 9:54 p.m., a store surveillance camera shows that Smiley stopped her car at the Gull Harbor Mercantile on Boston Harbor Road, but it was closed.
Mealy said there is some indication that Smiley might have fallen and hurt her knee at the Martin Way Diner. Her son apparently told one of the residents of the home on 46th Avenue that his mother had hurt her knee. Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy James Chamberlain said Monday that the residents of the home on 46th Avenue have told investigators that Smiley seemed out of sorts, but no more than would be normal for someone who was lost on an unfamiliar road.
Mealy called the disappearance of Smiley and her son “very suspicious.”
Simmons, 39, said he and Smiley met about 21/2 years ago online. She works at Kitsap Medical Group in Bremerton, he said. Simmons said he lives with Smiley and her son in Silverdale, along with his own two children – a 15-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.
Simmons said he has talked to Azriel’s father in New York state, and he is trying to get a flight to Washington. Simmons said Smiley was looking forward to reconnecting with her stepfather in Castle Rock, after a period when they had not communicated. “She was nervous, but she was excited,” Simmons said.
Simmons added that he knows of no one who would do Smiley any harm. “I’m just trying to be really positive and optimistic,” he said.
Smiley is described as white, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 140 pounds with short brown hair. Azriel is described as 4 feet 2, with brown eyes and a blond Mohawk haircut.
Simmons has posted photos of Smiley and Carver on his Web site.
“The past 36 hours have been nerve racking, and full of fear, pain and sorrow,” reads an entry on Simmons’ Web site. “I just want my fiancée and Azriel back home. I want to marry her, and spend the rest of my days by her side.”
Anyone with information on Smiley and her son’s whereabouts should call Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office at 360-786-5500 or 911.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465