Dana McKim, family spokesman, said: “We know that Anna was very sad. She was very upset over the course of the previous weekend. She was really struggling with emotions she was having. So we know that whenever she disappeared, we suspect that there was some sadness that we don’t know in great detail what all of that was about.”
By Jesse Wood
Sept. 8, 2014. At a press conference in front of the Appalachian State University Police Department on Monday night, dozens of friends, family members and fellow students shared tears, prayers and passionate pleas for the safe return of Anna Marie Smith, an 18-year-old freshman student from High Point who has been missing since between the evenings of Sept. 2 and 3.
“I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to help us find our daughter, Anna. What we know, she has no food, no money and no communications. We love her,” said her father, Dan Smith, in a heart-wrenching voice. “Anna, if you can hear me, your family is here … Let us take you home.”
Then Anna’s mother, Laurie, stood in front of the TV cameras and said, “I don’t know what to say besides, if Anna is gone and she can’t come home, I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again, but if you are here Anna, everyone, everyone, there isn’t a Mountaineer here who doesn’t want to love you. Come back.”
Earlier this evening, Appalachian State University issued an updated press release, which ASU Police Chief Gunther Doerr read aloud at the press conference, stating that Smith is now classified as a “missing and possibly endangered person” by ASU Police, State Bureau of Investigation and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
It was noted by Doerr that investigators continue to exhaust “all means including interviews, forensic examination of records, surveillance video analysis and any other available means to attempt to locate Anna.”
Dana McKim, longtime friend of the family and family spokesperson at the press conference, added that investigators have also “gone into her electronic hardware” to figure out what she’s been thinking, where she’s been and what she may have done.
“We know that Anna was very sad. She was very upset over the course of the previous weekend. She was really struggling with emotions she was having. So we know that whenever she disappeared, we suspect that there was some sadness that we don’t know in great detail what all of that was about,” McKim said. “That’s one of the reasons she was elevated to an endangered status. We are very concerned that it has been this long since she has been in contact with anyone … She has left little or no trace or trail behind.”
On Friday, ASU announced that local law enforcement officers and first responders conducted a “thorough search of several wooded areas on campus early [Friday] morning that were previously canvassed, looking for clues in the disappearance” of Smith, but found none were found. Prior to that release, ASU announced that a preliminary investigation done by ASU Police the day following her disappearance suggested no foul play occurred and that Smith left on her own accord.
Smith was initially reported missing since noon on Sept. 2. Then after her disappearance was announced, others came forward and said she was last seen on Sept. 3 at about 6 p.m. ASU announced that Smith reportedly used Mountaineer SafeRide, the university’s van service for night transportation on campus, on Sept. 2 at about 10:26 p.m. Also, officials received a report that she was last seen near her residence hall on Sept. 3 at about 6 p.m.
On Monday afternoon, ASU Chancellor Sheri Everts penned a message to the ASU community.
“Since our student Anna Smith was reported missing on Sept. 3, there has been an outpouring of care and concern from the Appalachian community. All of our hearts go out to Anna’s family and loved ones during this difficult time,” Everts wrote. “Anna’s safe return is first and foremost on our minds at Appalachian. As Chancellor, the safety and well-being of our students is my top priority.”
Smith is believed to last be carrying a bright blue LL Bean backpack that contained a blue ENO hammock and possibly wearing a red or orange top and black leggings. She also typically carries a red leather purse, too. She is without her cellphone or computer.
Anna has short, red or blonde hair, blue eyes, and stands 5-feet-9-inches tall with a slender build. She has nose piercings, a black and white sunflower tattoo on her upper right chest near her collarbone and Latin lettering over her lower left ribs. She also has a nose piercing. Smith’s father told Fox 8 earlier in the week that his daughter enjoyed hiking and kayaking in and around Boone.
Smith’s family and law enforcement investigators are asking for anyone who has any information pertaining to her whereabouts to contact University Police at 828-262-2150.
Also, see the “Find Anna Marie Smith” Facebook page that is administered by Smith’s family with updated pictures and more information.
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