The Search for Anita Smith

Missing Gulfport woman Anita Smith was last seen in 2014. Based on evidence, authorities have ruled Smith’s disappearance and death a potential suicide. Recently, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department reopened the case and hope they can locate Smith’s body.
Despite freezing temperatures, a group made up of officers from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and volunteers from Gulf Coast Search and Rescue make their way through the underbrush. Their goal is to find the remains of Anita Smith, a Gulfport woman that has been missing for almost three years. Presumed dead, Smith disappeared on January 2nd, 2014 and despite the extensive initial search effort, she remains missing. The search group believes they might have narrowed down the location of Smith’s body. Kristi Johnson with Harrison County Sheriff’s Department CSI said, “We have no reason to expect foul play. We are actually here searching because this cemetery is an area where she had a relative and it means something to her so we’re here searching, thinking, thinking just maybe that she came this way.”
Due to the large area and thick forest, the team is using GPS location systems and dogs in the search for Smith. One Gulf Coast Search and Rescue member said, “One the advantages we have is we use trained K9s that are trained in what we call human remain detection. They are able to locate the scent of decaying human remains.”
“We know the basic description of what she was wearing. What she may have had, personal belongings with her. We’re looking for those kinds of things that would survive three years out in the woods,” said Johnson.
The search team is optimistic about the previously unsearched location and hopes to provide Anita Smith’s family with the one thing they long for: closure.

Categories: Local News, News

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