Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation to focus on the crisis of missing African Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. All of the Find Our Missing cases profiled this month will focus on domestic violence.
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: Nov. 16, 1983
Missing Date: March 24, 2012
Age Now: 30
Missing City: Little Rock
Missing State: Arkansas
Hair Color: Sandy
Hair Length: Medium
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Patrice Smith was last seen by her family, when she left her sister’s home with her boyfriend, Michael Robinson, 29. They left in a 2004 gray Ford Explorer.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Smith had only been dating Robinson for a few months, but she already had an order of protection against him at the time of her disappearance. Police say Robinson has a history of assault.
Darrell Smith, 52, an automotive technician for the city of Little Rock, said on the day his daughter went missing, the family had a barbecue at the park. When they returned to Patrice’s sister’s home that night, Robinson was there waiting. Patrice left with him.
The next day, Smith said his other daughter, who normally spoke with Patrice every day, told him she had yet to hear from her. The family went to Robinson’s house in West Little Rock that day, but he was gone already. Police told neighbors that they had heard the pair arguing overnight.
“If I had only known what was going on,” Smith told NewsOne in an interview. “I know how men try to beat women down and lower their self-esteem, and I was not going to allow anyone to treat my daughter like that.”
Police began looking for Robinson for violating the restraining order ,but he was on the run for weeks before being caught by U.S. Marshals.
Still, there hasn’t been a sign of Patrice since she was last seen getting in the car with Robinson.
In March of 2013, Robinson accepted a plea deal that sentenced him to five years in prison for assaulting Patrice, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
In court, Smith said he made an appeal to Robinson.
“I said, Michael, I’m not mad at you. Just give my daughter back. That’s what I would tell him to this day,” said Smith.
All Smith wants for his daughter is justice.
“What I would like to see done is closure. I know my daughter is no longer with us. I want the prosecutors and the judicial system to do their part. I want a trial,” said Smith. “If he beats the case, I can deal with that.”
Little Rock Police told NewsOne they still have an active investigation open. The case was last reviewed in July, according to Little Rock police officials, but there was no new information.
That’s of no comfort to Smith. Robinson has not been charged beyond the assault charge he is jailed for.
For Smith, each day without his daughter has been difficult. The family never had a chance to say goodbye to Patrice.
There’s no grave site to visit.
It’ll be another few years before they can even have Patrice declared officially dead.
“What I miss most was that I knew my daughter was going to call me and bring around my granddaughter,” said Smith. “I know I had a friend and a daughter and that’s what hurts.”
Last Seen Wearing: Blue jean capris, purple shirt, and tennis shoes.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: None.
If you have information regarding the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance for Patrice Smith, contact Little Rock Police at (501) 371-4660 or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.