December is a month many associate with the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season. While plenty of people are still working to beat the clock and find that perfect gift, there’s one Murfreesboro woman who never made it home from her shopping trip.
December 6 marked the 13 years after 69-year-old Marsilene Smith went missing. It’s a case Assistant District Attorney Trevor Lynch spent a good amount of his career trying to solve.
“This is one of those cases where we know who did it, but we’re still in a position where we cannot proceed legally. That’s a very frustrating thing to deal with in a case of this nature.”
On December 6th, 2007, Murfreesboro police got a call from Glover Palmer Smith, who reported his wife missing. He told dispatchers Marcie left the house around 1:30 that afternoon to go Christmas shopping.
“He was worried about her. He did not know when she was going to come back, and he hadn’t heard from her – couldn’t reach her,” Lynch said.
Smith described the car Marcie was driving and said she might have gone shopping at WalMart. That’s exactly where police found it.
“They put a BOLO – be on the lookout – for that Lincoln Navigator,” Lynch said. “Within 24-36 hours, something of that nature, they located that Navigator in a Walmart parking lot on Rutherford Boulevard.”
Murfreesboro police worked with the store’s security personnel to obtain footage that showed exactly how the car got there.
“[They] were able to see the Navigator come into the parking lot,” Lynch said. “They saw it almost get into a collision with another vehicle. And then the Navigator continued around, parked, and you could see an individual, male, older individual, get out, take a bicycle out of the back of the vehicle, then ride away on the bicycle.”
Police shared the surveillance footage with the public, asking witnesses in the second car to come forward.
“The individuals that were in the vehicle contacted the Murfreesboro Police Department and said that’s us in the car, and we were able to see the driver. They gave a description of the driver. Officers had them come down. They did a photo lineup, and they put Mr. Smith in the photo lineup, and they immediately identified him—that’s the guy that was driving the Navigator.”
Lynch said the Navigator was found unlocked with the door left open and keys in the ignition.
“So in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that he wanted that vehicle found. For what reason? It seemed pretty clear he wanted somebody to locate that vehicle and believe she had been abducted,” Lynch said.
Sometime after Smith was identified by witnesses, police issued a search warrant for him. During their investigation, they found the bicycle and clothing that matched the surveillance.
“Obviously, it tells us that they know more about this incident then they’re providing,” Lynch said. “And then what information they are providing, with it being dishonest, they’re trying to cover something up.”
In 2009, Smith was indicted on charges of fabricating evidence and providing false reports to police. He faced trial in 2010 and was convicted of those charges and sentenced to one year in jail and four years of probation.
Since then, Marcie’s family had her legally declared dead by the courts. Lynch said for the case to proceed, her remains must be found.
“It’s frustrating,” Lynch said. “This has been going on, at least in my hands, for 11 years now. So yeah, it’s a case that I will not forget and it’s one that would be wonderful if we could come to a conclusion on it. But with this period of time going past and the likelihood of locating where her remains are lessens as time goes by. ”
Murfreesboro police did not wish to talk on camera about the case at this time; however, they ask if anyone does have information about the case to please contact the criminal investigators division at (615) 893-2717.