A Wytheville mother has been on the hunt for answers, about her son disappeared.
Israel Smith vanished without a trace in March 2008. Smith's mother, Debra Bates says her son wouldn't have just left without any explanation, especially because his strong bond with his son.
“There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my son and I miss him. Life will never be the same again,” said Bates.
Bates says she had a close relationship with her son, and that they would talk on the phone often. But one day he didn't answer his phone and notes she left at his apartment went unanswered.
“He's a grown up, he doesn't have to report to mommy every day, so I didn't think anything unusual about it. He had a life of his own,” said Bates.
Her worries started to build when Smith didn't stop by his brother's house for his birthday. Bates went back to the home with a family member. Again her knocks on the door at apartment 4 went unanswered but Smiths' green ford explorer was parked outside.
“I knew something was wrong then, something was terribly wrong. He had not been in touch and his car had not been moved,” said Bates.
Bates says Smith never left his vehicle unlocked, but she wanted to check. The doors were unlocked. Inside she found clean laundry, but not her son. She then decided to check and see if his apartment door was unlocked. It was unlocked and everything was in place.
“I think somebody took him. If he would have left on his own his doors would have been locked,” said Bates.
Wytheville police got involved, collecting evidence from the house.
“When he first disappeared they said they were going to an investigation and to talk to several people over time. That was five years ago,” said Bates.
Wytheville police they say the case is still active. Smith's son is now a teenager, who misses his father.
For the first time in five years, Bates is looked at some of her son's old photos and cd's, including his old work schedule.
“That was my baby, you think of him as an adult, but he was also my baby my little blond headed blue eyed toddler, my child. And you feel as a mom you should have done something, said Bates.
Bates says her son kept to himself and she couldn't imagine him getting into any kind of trouble.
With so many questions, Bates just hopes someone can help fill in the blanks, hoping to find what happened to Israel Smith.