Dana Smithers was a missing Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, mother whose body was found in a wooded area.
According to WBRE/WYOU, the parents of Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger “have been called to testify in front of a grand jury in the case of Smithers, 45, who went missing in May of 2022.” A source told the television station that Kohberger “has a solid alibi and is likely not connected to Smithers’ disappearance,” but the investigation is ongoing.
“The Stroud Area Regional Police Department is aware of the many currently reported news articles, in which various media outlets have reported connections between the SARPD’s Dana Smithers missing person investigation and Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger,” The Stroudsburg Area Regional Police Department wrote in a statement. “The SARPD has NO EVIDENCE that Dana Smither’s disappearance, is in ANY WAY tied to Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger.”
Kohberger is accused in the stabbing deaths of four college students in Idaho. He has pleaded not guilty.
On May 1, the Stroud Area Regional Police Department announced in a lengthy statement that authorities had identified human remains as missing person Dana Kristine Smithers of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dana Smithers’ Sister Wrote That It Was Possible Bryan Kohberger Was ‘In Our Area Around the Time’ of Smithers’ Disappearance
Smithers’s family has discussed the Kohberger theory on the Facebook page, “Finding Dana.”
“Thank you to everyone who has been reaching out recently regarding the possibility of the suspect in the horrific murders in Idaho having been in our area around the time of my sister, Dana’s disappearance. I have forwarded all of your suggestions on to local law enforcement. Please pray for everyone involved. 💔” Stacey Smithers wrote.
Of Kohberger, Daily Mail reported, “His father Michael is expected to testify in court on Thursday while his mother Maryann has already testified.” His parents live in Pennsylvania.
The proceedings are sealed, according to CNN, which also confirmed that the parents were subpoenaed to testify. An attorney for the parents tried to prevent their testimony, CNN reported, adding, “Their compelled testimony under oath may be shared with prosecutors in Idaho.” It’s not clear why prosecutors wanted the parents to testify.
2. Dana Smithers’ Body Was Found in a Wooded Area Next to an On Ramp
According to the police statement, the remains were “found in the wooded area next to the Park Avenue/ 80E on ramp on 4/27/23. The results of the autopsy are pending further testing and the cause and manner of death are currently undetermined.”
“The immediate family is requesting privacy during this difficult time as they grieve the loss of a loved one,” the statmeent says. “This case remains an active ongoing investigation. Anyone with any information on this missing person/ death investigation is asked to contact Detective Robert Transue at email@example.com or by calling 570-421-6800-ext 1027.”
The remains were discovered on April 27, 2023. “Decomposed human remains were recovered from the wooded area and turned over to the Coroner’s Office,” the release says.
3. Dana Smithers Was Seen Leaving a Friend’s House With Cell Phone in Hand & Then Disappeared
According to the release, Smithers was reported missing on June 4, 2022. “Smithers was last seen on 05/28/2022 at approximately 11:05 PM. A ring video camera verified her leaving the residence of a friend with her cell phone in hand,” the release says.
“Smithers cell phone, wallet and daily medication were found at her residence. Family member reported that Smithers has never stayed away from her young daughter for this length of time,” it adds. “Dana Smithers is described as a 45-year-old white female, 5 foot 5 inches, approximately 165 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and wearing black jeans with a burgundy shirt.”
An earlier news release, dated June 22, 2022, reported that the Stroud Area Regional Police Department “continues to ask for the public’s assistance for any information regarding missing Stroudsburg Borough resident, Dana Smithers.”
At that time, the release said that “the investigation into this case has not revealed any information on the whereabouts of Ms. Smithers or indicate that any crime was committed.”
That release says that Smithers’ last known location was the area of Glen Park in Stroudsburg, a heavily wooded area, but a search turned up nothing.
4. Dana Smithers’ Sister Described Her as a ‘Gregarious’ Mother of 3
Smithers’ sister, Stacey Smithers, spoke about her sister to Dateline.
“Her kids need her. I need her. My mom needs her,” Stacey Smithers told Dateline, according to NBC. “We need to know what happened.”
She described Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, as “basically at the end of the Poconos. It’s a resort community. Really nice growing up there.”
Stacey Smithers told Dateline that her sister was “gregarious” with a “very boisterous laugh.”
Dana Smithers left behind three children, ages 25, 23, and 7, according to NBC.“She didn’t do anything that didn’t involve her kids,” Stacey Smithers told NBC. “That was her thing. I mean she was always there with the kids.”
According to what Stacey Smithers told Dateline, Dana and her youngest daughter spent time on May 28 with her daughter’s father at a bar and grille festival. They were dancing and “amicable,” NBC reported, and then Dana Smithers returned home and spoke to a neighbor, who told Dateline she smoked a cigarette, which could indicate nervousness.
That neighbor’s ring camera captured Dana Smithers, but she was never seen again, NBC reported, adding that Dana Smithers had struggled with substance abuse but she “was getting much better.”
5. Dana Smithers Filled Her Facebook Page With Pictures of Her Kids
Dana Smithers filled her Facebook page with photos showing her with her kids, and of her dog.
Her page describes her as single and living in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Tara Cioni, Dana Smithers’ best friend, told Dateline, “She would never leave her children like this. We were planning for the summer. She had a lot going on.”
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