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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Mother, Child Missing Since 2016 Found Only 25 Miles from Site of Initial Disappearance

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A missing persons case that has spanned several years has finally come to a close as a missing mother and daughter were located around 25 miles from where they were last spotted on Dec. 4, 2016, in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The 21-year-old mother, Amber Renaye Weber, and her 1-year-old daughter, Miracle Smith, were reported missing at the end of January 2017.

At the time, Weber had been living with her sister. Weber’s father said she left very abruptly one night.

“Our one daughter [her sister] called us and said she just took off in the middle of the night,” Monty Weber told WNCN-TV. “Didn’t bring clothes or nothing, just grabbed the baby. We figured somebody came and picked her up.”

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“Detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department are requesting the public’s assistance in locating Amber Renaye Weber and her daughter Miracle Smith, who were reported missing on January 31, 2017,” the original Facebook post from the Fayetteville Police Department read.

“Weber and Smith were last seen on December 4, 2016 along the 1200 block of Martindale Drive, in Fayetteville.”

In 2018, authorities believed the pair to be in Harnett County due to medical records found after Weber received treatment, but the trail went cold, according to WNCN.

In 2021 Sonia Roldan, an investigative assistant with the Fayetteville police, partnered with U.S. Marshalls to look for new leads on Weber and Smith’s whereabouts, as they had reason to believe there was a link between them and a man named Joe Smith who lived close by and was allegedly Miracle Smith’s grandfather.

On Jan. 25, multiple agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office found mother and daughter in a home in Bunnlevel with Joe Smith.

Smith, 59, had been arrested on Jan. 19 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was arrested again on Jan. 25 and four firearms were removed from the property.

Miracle and her sibling were taken to the Harnett County Department of Social Services for victim assistance, according to WTVD-TV.

“The culmination of years of following leads and tips resulted in the outcome that we had all hoped for today; the successful recovery of a child who had been missing since December 2016,” U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael East said in a statement.

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“The U.S. Marshals Service and our investigative partners will not quit, nor be deterred until these children are rescued.”

The Fayetteville Police Department recognized both Roldan’s work and the U.S. Marshalls’ involvement in the case.

“Through the coordinated efforts of both departments to seek out new leads for the missing mother and daughter, they were able to locate them and both are reported to be safe,” the department posted on Facebook.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking