In 2011, Michelle Parker was a thirty-three-year old devoted mother of three who lived in Orlando, Florida. Working three jobs to provide for her family, Michelle was a bartender, hair dresser and ran a home tanning business. In June of 2011, Michelle and her then-fiancée and father of her twin three-year-olds, Dale Smith, Jr., were filmed on an episode of the television show The People’s Court, which later aired in November. The dispute was over a $5,000 engagement ring that Michelle threw over the balcony of a hotel room during a drunken dispute. The two had been together since 2006 and during the taping, Michelle recounted how Dale had a history of violence and abuse, particularly after he’d been drinking. In addition, he often cheated on Michelle. Ultimately, the judge ordered Michelle and Dale to split the cost of the ring. According to Michelle’s mother, Yvonne Stewart, claimed that Michelle described the entire experience as humiliating and regretted having filmed the episode.
The episode aired on November 17th which is also the last day Michelle Parker was seen. On 2:30 PM that same day, Michelle dropped off the twins at Dale’s condo at the Carter Glen Condominiums off Goldenrod Road in southeast Orlando. The security cameras filmed her driving to and from the condo complex in a black 2007 Hummer HU3 with the Florida license plate number AWGM26.
At 4:26 PM, Michelle’s brother, Dustin, sent her a text asking were she was. The reply he received simply said, “Waterford.” (Waterford Lakes is a neighborhood in Olrando.) This response struck her brother as odd and uncharacteristic as Michelle was known to send long, detailed messages no matter the topic. Dustin was convinced this message was not sent by Michelle. At 6:50 PM, Michelle’s eleven-year-old son contacted Michelle’s sister, informing her that his mother hadn’t come home that afternoon. Michelle would also never arrive at her 7:30 PM bartending shift.
At 8:00 PM, Michelle’s cell phone last pinged by Oakridge Road near Belle Isle, at least seven miles from where she was last seen. Afterwards, her phone was either turned off or died. The following day, her Hummer was found at Walden Palms Apartments in the 4700 block of Walden Circle in Orlando. A decal pasted on the window promoting her tanning business was removed. Three weeks later, her phone was located in a lake near the Nela Bridge in Belle Isle.
Due to his history of violence, Florida’s Department of Children and Families filed a petition to remove the twins from Dale Smith’s custody. However, on November 30, the judge ruled against the DCF’s petition, and the twins remained with their father. As Dale refused to take a polygraph in Michelle’s case, hired an attorney, and was absent during the search efforts, Michelle’s family went from being supportive of Dale to publicly stating their belief of his involvement in her disappearance.
While, authorities name him as their prime suspect, he continues to maintain his innocence and, to this day, no one knows what has happened to Michelle. Her family does not believe for an instant that she would have abandoned the children she worked so diligently to support. If anyone has any information about Michelle Loree Parker, please contact the Orlando Police Department at 407–246–3975 or Crimeline at 800–423–8477.
The Charley Project: charleyproject.org/case/michelle-loree-parker